Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A sad day

One of the most dedicated and fantastically hard working people to have supported the cause of junior doctors up and down the country has been Lindsay Cooke, the voice of Mums4Medics. The following letter from Lindsay sums it all up really, it gets across the empty feeling many of us have been left with and the tremendous human cost that the government's reform agenda has had this year in particular:

"Hi everyone

This is a hard thing for me to say, but I think the time has come to accept that the fight is over. Even as I'm writing these words, I still can't quite take in the enormity of what's happened. We are witnessing the destruction of a system of medical education that was the envy of the world. We are witnessing the elevation of competence over excellence. We are witnessing the concept of the doctor as 'healer' replaced by the concept of doctor as medical technician. God helps us all in our old age - and God help the NHS.

There is no concensus among you about further action - nor, indeed, is there among junior doctors. The Remedy forum - as those of you who are regular visitors will know - is eerily quiet. There is no talk of further resistance; just appeals for information and the sharing of yet another injustice. Today, I learnt that some have been told that their jobs now won't begin until October 1st, leaving them unemployed for two months. Today, I read of someone being deemed ineligible for a post because he'd worked in a specialty for 48 months rather than 'under 48 months'. What can you say? It's utterly shameful.

Here are 'our' statistics for you - thank you to those 36 people who sent me details of 'their' doctors' status.

1. The 36 comprise eight F2s and 28 SHOs.
2. Of those, 50% have jobs - 16 have ST posts and three FTSTAs.
3. Of the 50% who don't have jobs, one is an F2 and 18 are SHOs.
4. Of the 19 without jobs, one is leaving medicine, five are going abroad,
one is applying to the Forces and one is thinking about going abroad - a total
of eight doctors lost or potentially lost to UK medicine, around 45% of
'our' total.

This sample is too small to be statistically viable, but it provides a frightening snapshot of the scale of this disaster.

Frankly, I don't know where we go from here. The brutal truth is that this campaign started at least two years too late - and probably three or four. The profession has sleepwalked into this through inertia; a disinterest in 'politics'; a complacent disregard for those courageous few who attempted to advise and warn; and the compliance of its institutions. We have fought the good
fight in support of our own and their colleagues and will always know that we fought for what was right - but it's hard to see how we can take it forward. I'd be interested in any positive suggestions.

I'm so sorry, but I just cannot continue to devote most of my time to Mums4Medics in the way I have done since the beginning of March. I'm promised that, tomorrow, there will be a Mums4Medics area on the Remedy forum - which means that you will have a platform to talk to each other, something that hasn't been possible up to now except through our local contacts - who I recommend to you. You will find their names and email addresses on our web site,
_www.mums4medics.org_ ( . I will continue to liaise/work
with Remedy and to provide a weekly update on a Friday and suggestions for action in support of junior doctors for as long as that seems useful and to answer your emails - but I cannot help with individual issues any more. I need to take some time away from this, not least to come to terms with the fact that I'm losing my own daughter to the other side of the world. I'm truly sorry, but I'm exhausted and heartsick right now and honestly don't feel I have much to offer in the way of positive proposals. I hope that will change.

I didn't go to the Remedy meeting last night but am promised the minutes in due course and have also asked for an update on their future plans, which I'll put in Friday's update. I've also written to Prof Morris Brown to see what Fidelio's plans are.

With every good wish to you and your families

Lindsay Cooke"

Thankyou Lindsay for all your hard work, it's hard to know what else to say really.

1 comment:

The Scribe said...

Some of us have been fighting for nearly a decade on the causes we believe in. You guys have been going for less than a year.

I cannot believe that you are now hanging your boxing gloves up and leaving the building.

The important thing about believing in something is keeping going and raising concerns.

Giving up is the easy way out - the harder way is to regroup and rebuild to a stronger force for the authorities to answer to. By all means have a rest - but come back to fight another day.

Rita Pal
Still going since 1998.