After a whole month of ‘bah and humbug’, I think the festive season is well and truly underway in December. Although Jeremy Hunt, in the form of the Evil Queen, did try his best to somewhat dampen the holiday spirits - and delay my foray into the dangerous world of Christmas shopping. One has to have a scapegoat after all, as we GPs who are often at the receiving end, know all too well.
I was not around in 1975 when the last strike happened, and I had hoped that I would not see this strike either. It is coming up to ten years now since I last worked in a hospital, but like the many ‘firsts’ in our lives, one never really forgets those junior doctor days.
I was overcome with the level of emotion that accompanied the mass protest against the new contract. We were all prepared in our own small ways to show solidarity on the first day of strike - I work on Tuesdays so was prepared to hold the fort in general practice and explain to my patients the importance of the protests.
Only Mr Hunt, or rather Mr Cameron, can tell you if they were were ever prepared to go all the way, or whether they were simply testing of the waters to check the level of feeling in the medical profession and more importantly the public?
Let’s face it the government doesn’t care much about doctors - and in the hierarchy of all doctors, GPs sit proudly at the bottom. If this was a test case in law then it has certainly set a precedent. There is only so much aggression any profession can take.
Mr Hunt has only given in a fraction in this dispute, or perhaps he is just trying to deflect attention from the business of winter pressures and Christmas - after all he probably has his Christmas shopping to do too.
- Dr Aziz is a GP in Bristol