A betting shop storefront has been erected outside a London hospital and Westminster ahead of the first planned strike on Tuesday to represent how Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to introduce radical reforms to doctors’ contracts could gamble with the public’s health.
The junior doctors campaign group dubbed the betting shop Jeremy’s Punt in reference to the Government’s continued failure to address doctors’ concerns that no proper safeguards have been put in place to prevent hospitals from forcing them to work dangerously long hours.
Junior doctors are worried that the new contract will lead to increasingly unsafe working patterns without adequate rest and recovery, as well as changes to the definition of ‘office hours’ weekday and weekend working.
The fake betting shop was offering ‘Money Back’ if Hunt re-negotiates, ‘Evens on being treated by an overworked doctor’ and ‘3/1 on reforms causing a preventable medical error’ as a way to get the message across.
Dr Nadia Masood, an anaesthetic trainee in London said: “We work hard to keep our patients safe and want to continue doing so. You wouldn’t drive for 13 hours without proper breaks, yet the government want to remove vital safeguards in their version of the new contract. Tired doctors make mistakes, this contract doesn’t protect patients or staff adequately.”
“We chose this profession because of an innate passion for the care of people, but these reforms are showing a lack of that for both the public and us. We cannot gamble with people’s lives, plain and simple.”