"I can see by 2025, the NHS being an insurance-based system. That terrifies me. Healthcare staff are definitely aware of this. The question is, do the public care?"
As dramatic resignations go, handing in your notice on live TV has to be up there – particularly when your boss is Jeremy Hunt.
In April this year Dr Ben White appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the first ever all-out doctors’ strike.
“I am resigning as a trainee doctor to focus on a legal campaign to fight the [junior doctors] contract on behalf of my patients and on behalf of the NHS,” Dr White said.
Following his unexpected announcement Dr White – who hadn’t so much as attended a protest before 2015 – threw himself into the Justice 4 Health legal campaign, taking the Health Secretary to court.
Mr Hunt had acted beyond the scope of his powers by compelling NHS employers to adopt the new deal, Dr White and his colleagues argued.
The Health Secretary claimed he had approved a new contract but had not imposed it on employers or compelled them to adopt it.
It came as a blow to the group when the courts ruled in favour of Mr Hunt.
‘Bitter pill to swallow’
“It was really bitter pill to swallow,” admits Dr White.
“We have quotes direct from his own mouth he’s imposing a contract… He’s been lying in court, misleading Parliament, every junior doctor and most of the press.”
Upon hearing arguments from Mr Hunt’s legal team that no junior doctor ever thought the Health Secretary was going to impose contract on them, Dr White “just laughed”.
Morale in the NHS is now at “rock bottom”, Dr White says. Earlier this month Theresa May came under fire for appearing to suggest foreign-born doctors would not be welcome in the UK beyond 2025.
‘Politics of hate’
Dr White was horrified by the Prime Minister’s “vile” stance. “It’s the politics of hate,” he says.
“Every single worker in the NHS knows you would not be able to manage without EU and overseas staff. The system would fail overnight.
If the Government continues to “denigrate staff”, “defund” the NHS and “allow it to fail”, the healthcare system will be dead and buried within 10 years, Dr White believes.
“I can see by 2025, the NHS being an insurance-based system. That terrifies me. Healthcare staff are definitely aware of this. The question is, do the public care?”
Source: i News