I recently met Andrew Bingham MP, to tell him of my concerns about the future of the NHS under this government.
During the discussion I mentioned that 48 per cent of junior doctors were seeking to leave the NHS to work overseas.
Doctors are still known as ‘junior doctors’ despite many of them being experienced and occupying positions below consultant level.
Three junior doctors I knew of personally were in the process of doing just that. Mr Bingham stated that the government would replace those leaving by hiring more doctors from abroad.
I was shocked that he appeared happy to see the fruits of seven years’ investment in expensive high quality training per young doctor leave the country. Doctors are leaving because they feel abused and undervalued.
This week it emerged that the process of granting visas to foreign doctors is about to change.
One consequence of the change would be to make it more difficult to recruit from abroad.
Is Mr Bingham still so happy to see so many highly trained, capable, caring professionals exiting from England?
Does he realise that the very doctors he so complacently relies on to replace them are watching carefully how the Government treats all doctors under Consultant level and will gravitate towards the US and Canada rather than conveniently fill vacancies caused by the Government?
The imposition of a contract on junior doctors has exacerbated the retention problem. Jeremy Hunt revealed back in 2005 that he wanted to see the whole of the NHS privatised. He wanted private companies to make profit out of healthcare.
Everything the Tory party have done since they have been in power appears to be heading towards that aim.
Perhaps Mr Bingham is equally happy with the explosion of private medical companies in the NHS? Wealthy people will be able to afford these first class facilities. The rest of us will have to manage with whatever’s left.