Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Frankly, Jasper, your laziness is embarassing

A journalist named Jasper Gerard wrote this piece in the Guardian on Sunday. As well as being irresponsible and ill informed, it could even be argued that Mr Gerard's piece was misguided vitriol posing as opinion.

Firstly his mocking of Phil Smith, the junior doctor who heckled Patricia Hewitt on question time, was remarkably arrogant and patronising in its tone; he also completely misrepresented the argument that Phil and other junior doctors have tried to get get across to the public of late.

Phil was not rude, in fact other than being necessarily loud he actually heckled in a rather courteous manner, if that is possible. Phil was trying to get across the anger and frustration that we are all feeling at the moment. We feel that way because the government has introduced a scheme with unparalleled failings and is trying to force it through at any cost. These failings have included lost applications, a useless shortlisting process and rank unfairness at every turn; surely even Jasper would want the best doctors selected for the available jobs? If Jasper cared to research a little more around the topics about which he writes, then he may find that the government and her agents have repeatedly acted dishonestly and lied as part of their efforts to push their failing scheme through. Phil Smith's outburst must been in this context, and even then he made his point eloquently enough without being 'rude'.

His comments on medical unemployment and the twisting of Phil's words were just lazy journalism at its worst. Junior doctors are not averse to competition, in fact many of us love medicine because it pushes us to make the best of our abilities and we thrive on the competition. If Jasper knew anything about MTAS then he would realise that juniors are angry because the process is completely unfair and a rank shambles. Also Jasper should read up on his MMC as he would then learn that the government is lowering training standards and dumbing down medical training; this is another reason why juniors are getting militant, largely because they want to provide a good service in the future for their patients.

Unemployment is a separate issue, but still one that Jasper fails to address sensibly. The question of unemployment has yet to even be properly answered by the government; Hewitt has been misleading the public at best and lying to them at worst, there may well be 14,000 unemployed juniors come August. In fact Ms Hewitt and other health ministers have refused to face these allegations when faced by the Channel 4 news team last month. The potential waste of billions of tax payer's cash was strangely not mentioned. The fact that the UK has the lowest doctor per head of population ratio out of virtually all developed counties was also absent from Jasper's musings. The government have also not expanded the consultant grade as they had previously admitted they must do, if they are to meet the needs of the population in the future; for example we are currently 300 plastic surgeons short, makes a bit of a mockery of Jasper's argument doesn't it. Any perspective on this issue was sadly lacking as Jasper even tried to defend Hewitt's limp argument; it would be hard to see mass medical unemployment as a good thing in this miserable context.

I expect this kind of drivel from an anencephalic Sun hack, but journalists with more than one grey cell really should know better. There is no defence for the sloppy misrepresentation of events and facts in this way, it is simply bad journalism. As Jasper was so keen to suggest that Phil learnt some manners, I would like to give Jasper some useful advice; it would be sensible to properly research the subjects that he writes about, so that he can avoid making such a complete and utter arse of himself.


Anonymous said...

Why aren't we striking?! Haven't we had enough?!! What are we going to lose?! Everyone thinks 'it won't be me!' Oh, yes it will, even if it ain't you this year, it sure will be you next year!


Garth Marenghi said...


to be fair to Jasper, he has listened and learnt, respect must go out,