Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/480/2234
The Socialist 29 March 2007 |
Join the Socialist
Save our National Health Service
PUSH for mass demo
Patients, hospital staff, doctors and medical students are all suffering due to New Labour's destruction of the NHS. And who is benefiting? Big business of course!
Labour's 'payment-by-results' system of funding has been used to manipulate hospital deficits, in an attempt to justify cuts and privatisation. Now New Labour's policy writers think that supermarkets should be able to profit from GP services.
Thousands of people have protested against hospital cuts in demonstrations around Britain. On 17 March over 10,000 doctors, medical students and their supporters demonstrated in London and Glasgow.
These demonstrations were organised by remedyuk, a group set up by junior doctors. The British Medical Association only supported the marches once they became unstoppable.
Due to the anger of rank and file union members, the UNISON health executive have called for a national demonstration in June or July.
People United Saving Hospitals (PUSH) are meeting on 31 March, bringing local NHS anti-cuts campaigns together to help make sure a national demo happens - preferably in London - and is properly built for.
PUSH national meeting, Saturday 31 March, 1-5pm, Starley Room, Coventry Transport Museum, Millennium Place, Coventry. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Third-year medical student Viyaasan Mahalingasivam told the socialist how heath reforms are affecting medical training:
"The government ideal is to have more specialist centres at the expense of general hospitals, so doctors aren't becoming general. If you're a general doctor you have a rounded knowledge of everything but you still have something you would specialise in, but now because people are becoming specialists they're only dealing with one thing all the time.
Whereas in the past you could treat all their general medical problems, now you will probably only deal with one problem. But plenty of patients have multiple conditions and they're going to have to be managed by different people. You'll have to go to Barts Hospital in central London for your heart and Queens Hospital in Romford for your brain.
Lots of students who wanted to gain as much experience as possible are being forced to specialise much earlier. New junior doctors, senior house officers with up to seven years' experience as a doctor, and registrars with even more, all have to apply for speciality training at various grades. There aren't enough places and you don't know where you stand.
If you don't get into specialist training you become a non-training doctor and have to apply again the next year. You can only apply three times and if you don't get in you've lost your chance of training in a speciality.
It's very restrictive and doesn't allow you to form your own career pathway. In the past there were so many things you could do to show that you're worthy of a particular speciality. But now doctors are being judged on how well they did at medical school and not much else. Everything is just allocated by computer so they don't really look at each medical student as a person.
They're trying to get rid of clinical tutoring so that clinical doctors provide as much face-to-face care for patients as possible. But this limits the amount of research and teaching that's being done and it's going to be hugely detrimental to the future of medicine."