Sunday, March 18, 2007

Protests on Doctor's training

Thousands of doctors took part in protests yesterday in London and Glasgow against proposed changes to the system of training. They accuse the government of trying to "disempower and degrade" the medical profession.

It is rarely the case that either side has a monopoly of wisdom or virtue. Both governments and doctors need to see the other side's point of view. But I can hardly blame doctors being fed up with the government when Tony Blair describes anyone who dares to disagree with his proposals for the NHS as "the forces of Conservatism" and leaves Patricia Hewitt as Secretary of State when she is the only person in the country who things the NHS is having it's "best ever year."

We will not sort out the problems of the NHS unless we can make real improvements in doctors and nurses morale and convince them that they and their expertise are valued. That particularly applies in remote areas like West Cumbria where recruitment and retention of key staff is vital to retaining services.

To start the process of improving morale will require a genuine two-way communication between government and medical staff. That is not happening at the moment. This government's idea of consultation is letting you know what they have decided.

The Conservatives have started a three month consultation on public health. Details will follow here shortly.

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