Partha Kar

What comic books can teach us about NHS industrial relations?

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am.

A superhero blockbuster movie called Civil War is about to be released.

I enjoy comic books. Having grown up on them, I love watching those characters come to life. I also know it’s a source of mockery for some – comic books are for kids, right?

But comic books can teach you much more about life and its issues than some conferences, courses or power point presentations ever will.

Want to know about discrimination read the X Men; want to know about strong women – check out Wonder Woman; want to know about race issues – check out Luke Cage; want to know about teenage angst – Spiderman only existed only for that.

Most notably, the Avengers should teach us all about the importance of a team – how many strong characters needed to work together to make things happen. The ethos of Captain America – strong, idealist, leader – or of Iron Man – cocky, confident, charming – we live with those characters every day in our lives.

Which brings me to the movie called Civil War. It was a seminal event in the world of comics – a chasm in the superhero community – heroes against each other. Everyone is supposedly right in their views so they go toe-to-toe and no one backs down as they fight for the people.

Is this starting to sound familiar?

The tagline of the movie is “Divided We Fall” – and its as apt as it gets. When it comes to the juniors’ contract, social media has erupted with dispute. Both sides keen to claim the side of the patient – everyone is right.

My view is that we have to look after the next generation of doctors but we are now moving into Civil War.

In between the two sides, there are many many who have simply taken advantage of an opportunity – whether it be because of a chip on their shoulder or a desire to change the government. Then there are those that bring the “In my Days” argument into play – and many, many junior doctors now feel trapped. Trapped in a toxic cocktail where no one is sure anymore how a “winner” emerges.

I know exactly what I would like – a simultaneous withdrawal of imposition and all out strike, followed by talks to thrash it out. The rest of us would applaud and breathe a sigh of relief. There’s an impending car crash to which we are all spectators at best.

I have no other suggestion to make to both parties – except that maybe all of you need to go and watch the movie Civil War together and understand the importance of what comic books teach us.

In the comic book Civil War, the public in the end stand up and say enough is enough. It makes the warring parties realise that even though they ALL felt they were fighting for the public, they just scared them enough to make a stand.

You sure comic books don’t have anything to teach us? Let’s resolve this madness.

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