LETTER: Doctors strike - Lives are being put at risk

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I am extremely concerned that Jeremy Hunt is not responding intelligently to the junior doctors latest offer of compromise in this ongoing dispute. The most important job of a government’s health minister is surely to oversee the safe running of our much loved and valued NHS.

Fifty eight thousand junior doctors cannot all be wrong or misguided when they declare their deeply held concerns for our NHS, if Jeremy Hunt’s imposed contract goes ahead.

Indeed they have the backing of many NHS professionals and the vast majority of the public including myself, who treasure the NHS, their expertise, their dedication and caring.

This large group of dedicated health workers have chosen a caring profession which is not highly paid considering all the challenging issues they may be required to face in their everyday work.

I fear that many would be students considering joining the medical profession will have doubts and opt for a different career or take their expertise abroad where they can be expected to be treated in a fairer manner and be respected by that country’s government.

I fear that patients lives could be at risk as a result of this ongoing dispute.

I believe the facts of the matter are clear.

There are not enough doctors to fulfill Jeremy Hunt’s seven day NHS aspirations. It’s simple maths and not rocket science.

There is a current shortage of doctors already to provide even a five day week service.

It takes five years at medical school to train a junior doctor and a further four years to qualify as a GP or eight years to be a hospital consultant.

Thus if Jeremy Hunt is successful in his vision for a seven day service to be implemented now, then our junior doctors will be having to work longer hours each week for some years hence in order to provide this service.

This is a potentially dangerous solution, unsafe for junior doctors and unsafe for their patients.

The low morale in the service will not encourage new recruits into this profession and many will surely take their skills abroad where they will be undoubtedly be much better rewarded and respected. Jeremy Hunt must act now to restart negotiations, listen to the medical profession and the general public in their call for an end to this very damaging dispute.

Adrian Partridge

By email