Monday, 19 March 2007

Wise words...

...from a speaker at the MTAS rally:

An entire generation of junior doctors has been betrayed and the public have been misled by a government intent on disempowering and downgrading the medical profession.

We have already heard about the MTAS fiasco, but I want to talk about the politics behind MMC.

The Labour Government has a clear agenda to disempower and control the medical profession so that it can push forward it reforms more cheaply and easily. You only have to mention loss of self regulation, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, PMETB, and last but not least MMC, to understand this. Doctors are the greatest advocates of patients so it follows that patients are also being disempowered.

MMC is a political tool designed to downgrade the medical profession by mass producing “fit for purpose” subconsultant grade doctors who will be cheaper to employ, easier to manage, and ideal workforce fodder for Foundation Trusts and ISTCs. This goes completely against the NHS Plan which promised a consultant led service. The public has been completely misled. Patients are going to be operated on by surgeons with 8,000 hours of training rather than the traditional 30,000 hours. This may be fine for a routine procedure, but what happens if a complication occurs? – in the blink of an eye a surgeon can go from being “fit for purpose” to completely out of their depth. This shows the complete lack of understanding from DH officials. Patient safety is clearly at risk with MMC. The competency based training methods of MMC are completely unvalidated so the pieces of paper that show a doctor is competent are meaningless. This is simply a smoke screen to fool the public that they are being seen by an appropriately trained doctor.

MMC will reduce experience, autonomy, career opportunities, which in turn will damage morale, ambition, service building and development, research teaching and ultimately professional standards. This is what the government wants of course, but is this what patients want? We clearly need to open this debate up to the public. I believe in the democratic process. If the public want a subconsultant led service then we will all have to accept it. However, the public haven’t even been consulted about this and were sold a different promise altogether. This has all been done by stealth, a common trait of this government.

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