Partha Kar

Time for NHS leaders to stand up and help resolve juniors’ contract dispute

Enough. Just enough. This has now gone on far too long. I am, of course, talking about the whole junior doctor fracas.

I am going to use this blog to urge senior colleagues in the NHS to get more involved and to help resolve this.

Let’s get something straight. Calling a 5-day strike with less than 2 weeks notice wasn’t the brightest idea. Those 5 days would have been tough and probably unsafe.

Anyway, we can criticise the BMA for all we want but let’s also laud them for making the right decision to postpone the action.

We now have a moment in time, an opportunity to resolve this ugly, acrimonious fracas.

So, I urge all NHS leaders – particularly those who make their way on to lists, attend the glitzy award ceremonies, offer high profile tweets, write blogs, and run organisations – to drop the cuddly, empathetic chat and get more involved.

You are important enough, you know enough people – so go to NHS Employers and the DH – and urge them to go back to the table with the BMA.

Say “Give peace a chance, ask the BMA what they want, have an adult conversation behind closed doors, do whatever’s needed to stop a 5-day strike in October.”

To make progress, some are going to need to be less biased. They need to drop the chip on their shoulder about doctors and the hatred of their union.

Powerpoint presentations and qualifications do not make a leader- if you GENUINELY believe in patient safety, forget the circular debates about who has the better argument, just try to help resolve this.

The GMC, rightly were worried about patient safety. They were accused of bias by many juniors in their communications. Well, show to them that you are not by asking NHS Employers to resolve this.

Health Education England were rightly worried about training being compromised – well take that conversation to the DH and ask them to ensure our next generation’s future is not compromised.

Am I a leader? I don’t know. I certainly haven’t made any of the media’s lists. But I do work in circles where I can ask the powers that be to engage with the juniors. So I will try. I will ask.

If YOU are someone who can influence that – then do it too. Please. A Keogh fellow? A Chief Executive? A Medical director? You know enough people so do the necessary – don’t be political and keep your head down.

“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.”

Great quote. Remember that and go do the needful.

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