Patrick Christys: I’m calling for it to be made illegal for GPs to go on strike

The police are legally banned from striking, why not GPs?

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Rishi Sunak is set to announce a £6bn investment into our beloved NHS to help tackle the record waiting lists and improve digital technology.

The plan is that you might finally be able to get treatment for whatever illness you have, and, when you turn up to your appointment, they won’t have lost your notes and have no record of who you are or why you’re there.

It comes as it was revealed that nearly six million people in England are waiting to start routine hospital treatment - a record high.

Of those, some 9,754 people had been waiting more than two years to begin hospital treatment, more than three times the 2,722 people who were waiting longer than two years in April.

Among them are people awaiting hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery.

NHS England has told hospitals to eliminate all waits of more than two years by March 2022.

The situation is so dire that there’s been a 20% increase in people self-funding operations, not just minor operations, but things like heart bypass operations – which cost around £17,000 - so you can put a price on life apparently.

A total of £2.3bn of the funding package will be specifically used to transform and set-up diagnostic centres across England, with the 100 'one-stop-shop' units in addition to the 44 already announced.

The plan is that you should be able to get tested for cancer there, etc, and help get a quicker diagnosis.

Now all of this seems ok, it seems like a relatively creative response to a crisis that might help tackle the two biggest problems – waiting times, slow diagnoses.

But I just don’t think this is going to work unless the actual biggest problem is tackled – the attitude of many people who work within the NHS.

I’m calling, right now, for it to be made illegal for GPs to go on strike.

The British Medical Association is threatening that GPs could strike at 6,600 practices in England. Not because of pay, not because of working conditions, but because they don’t want to be named and shamed if they don’t see patients face to face.

The police are legally banned from striking, why not GPs?

We’re pumping money into the NHS, we’re in the middle of the biggest crisis the NHS has ever faced and these new measures by Sunak won’t help to reduce the backlog of waiting lists unless our GPs stay in work.

We need our GPs in work, and whilst I’m sure we all hoped that common decency, common sense, a sense of duty, the inability to sleep at night if you go on strike and people die would compel them to stay in their surgeries…that’s not the reality sadly. So maybe government should be the ones to compel them. Make it illegal for them to strike.

I’m already fearful that this £6bn is just going to get swallowed up in a sinkhole of NHS waste, questionable pay structures, like the face that a diversity officer can be paid four times as much as a life-saving nurse, handed over to big pharma, etc, etc, etc…we absolutely cannot have GPs going on strike as well.

Make it illegal.