As the junior doctors continue to stand up for their rights and for the future of the NHS, I feel a rising sense of frustration that, no matter what they do, the government won’t listen. As a frequent flyer in the NHS, I see a great many doctors. As a disabled, long-term sick person I already have access to a 7-day emergency NHS as does everyone. Perhaps it’s just me but I don’t want a 7-day routine NHS, I have enough appointments on Monday to Friday, I don’t want them at weekends as well.
I despair when a scan appointment comes through for a Saturday morning. Saturday morning is coffee, late breakfast and watching Saturday Kitchen. It isn’t being squashed inside a hammering scanner for an hour or so. MRI Scan? On a Saturday? Fuck off. It’s my day off. My words not the doctors. I feel quite offended when I get a consultation for a Saturday – that’s my time. It’s the doctors time as well, that is the one’s not already working all weekend.
Most of my doctors are, in my eyes, super humans. Their dedication and knowledge amaze me. I’m not frustrated that I can’t see my urogynaecologist on a Saturday afternoon and I’m not forlorn that my GP dares have her Sunday’s off. When I need care I get it. I’m not sure where all the extra doctors are coming from to cover this extended NHS? Is the government really expecting to squeeze even more out of our beleaguered junior doctors? That’s just wrong. Surely it would be better to channel resources into making what we already have better rather than breaking the NHS by aspiring to some whimsical notion of a 7-day NHS on the same budget as now?
Despite how some corners of the media are presenting this to the world, I’ve yet to meet a doctor solely motivated by money. There are easier ways of making money that take less time, energy and dedication. As the government try to demonise the junior doctors, I fear for the future of the NHS and I fear for patients like me with complex care needs. Some of my doctors have gone way and beyond the call of duty to work out what’s wrong with me – I’d fear that would slip away as there’d simply be no time for complexity in a 7-day routine NHS, we’d simply become numbers on a patient production line.
When I attend A & E I don’t stop and consider which day of the week it is in case the care I receive is compromised as I know I will get great care. I’ve been admitted over the weekend on several occasions and I can’t say I’ve noticed a lack of doctors on the premises. My care has always been exemplary.
Admittedly I am feeling a bit got at lately with cuts in social care budgets, cuts to ESA, proposed changes to PIP, social housing coming under pressure with the right to buy and a general all-round disregard for disabled people. Maybe I’m wrong but it feels like the government is aiming for a subtle, afternoon-tea, kind of social cleansing where they hope no-one will a) notice or b) give a shit that the disabled are being treated so disrespectfully and without compassion. It wasn’t a lifestyle choice on my part; this isn’t the life I’ve longed for and dreamed about. Perhaps the government are right and I am a worthless waste of space that uses up perfectly good oxygen taking perfectly good money to survive when I should clearly just die so the better off can get more tax breaks. Sorry, I digress. Back to junior doctors.
It might not directly be my fight but I feel got at with this junior doctor’s dispute because the government is targeting a valued group of society who take very good care of me. Maybe that’s selfish but I’m not going to stand on the side-lines and watch as something I care about gets another kicking. The NHS is worth fighting for; it’s precious and it’s being eroded and corroded, ripped apart and privatised. Maybe we need to stand together and say No! Maybe we need to collectively say enough is enough as our NHS is simply too precious to be destroyed…