Remedy Mass Lobby of Parliament – 18th March

It’s still a turdI’ve never had any particular need to be glad that I don’t live on the west side of Leicester before now. The M69 is a pleasant enough minor motorway, and there isn’t really much else one can say about the place. Isn’t it where Adrian Mole grew up?

On the 18th I will be one of a worryingly small number of people lobbying Parliament about medical education and the plight of the missing generation of junior doctors who are too old to benefit from whatever reforms the government introduces as a result of the recent Tooke review, and too young to have made it safely to registrarship already. A year after the original MTAS debacle, I still could not have managed coherency if the MP I were lobbying was Patricia Hewitt.

By lobbying, I force my MP to inform herself on the details of the issues.  The problem of course is that one can only find MPs in their lairs in Westminster during the week, and most doctors will be working then. It is entirely happenstance that we can attend at all – it was the one week during this rotation that the one I’m going with could get for his holiday. I loathe London and all its works and I would far rather be on a cheap beach or a Scottish city, but I am privileged to live in a democracy and it’s important that those of us who live in democracies avail ourselves of the privileges while we still have them. It is important that my MP knows that, when she discussed this with her constituents, at least one of them asked her to vote for implementing Tooke in full.

As I type this I find myself getting more enthusiastic about the whole thing. When I followed Remedy’s directions and wrote to my MP to ask for a meeting I discovered on They Work For You that she voted against the war in Iraq, though she also voted against in inquiry into it. I find that I am looking forward to discovering her views on MMC and MTAS. Does she agree with the government’s proposal to implement about half of Tooke’s report? It’s an opportunity for me to decide whether or not to vote for her in the future. It’s an opportunity for me to become more informed, and for me to contribute and participate. Democracy – use it or lose it

I’m not just interested about my MP – I find myself wondering what’s going on at my local general hospital, (the one I’m going to London with works elsewhere), and I’m beginning to feel the first stirrings of willingness to pick up the fight again. I am, however, very glad that I’m not going to see Patricia Hewitt. If she’d been my MP there was a real risk that I would have lost it completely. Dribbling rage is never pretty.

Original Image from Remedy

For up to date comment on Modernising Medical Careers read the Witch Doctor – or even better: subscribe to her blog

To sign-up for the mass lobby of parliament go to the Remedy site – they will provide you with briefings and do all they can to support you.

Remember – it’s our NHS and they are our MPs.

6 responses to “Remedy Mass Lobby of Parliament – 18th March

  1. Thanks for the link Aphra.

    A year down the line, the government is much more interested in what bloggers are saying than they were then. We cause “noise” apparently. MTAS/MMC may have fired this interest a bit. They have joined us. Even Lord Darzi has started a blog of his own.

    You produced some sentinel posts on MTAS/MMC last year. If you have the energy to take it on again, anything you write in your inimitable style will doubtless now find its way to HMG directly. Of this I’m sure.

    The Witch Doctor.

  2. I’m wondering whether I should go to the lobby. I’m just a member of the public, but since my son had cancer treatment on the NHS I’ve realised how much we rely on it being there and wonderful in a crisis – and for us it was. My son died at 13 but his oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, paediatricians and so on were really excellent for the nearly three years he was ill. I was horrified by MMC/MTAS last year and read and liked the Tooke report. But I am not really clear about all the issues – I just get really angry sometimes about the things that I read ‘the public’ wants and thinks about medical care – and I worry about the changes to training and provision and the reasons for them. And the constant negativity in the press, which doesn’t seem to relate at all to the reality of my son’s care. But I don’t know that much about medical education. Sarah

  3. Sarah, please do come and say exactly what you’ve just said. Remedy are providing briefing packs, and you are clearly up on the issues. Forgive my cynicism, but if you’ve read the Tooke report you probably know more about the issues than your MP. The more “ordinary” people come, the more it’s clear that this is about our NHS not just about the Junior doctors.

    Witch Doctor, thanks for your encouragement. I’ll keep on blogging intermittently about MMC and MTAS. You are right about bloggers starting to matter. I came across some very cynical business advice the other day, that people who work in complaints departments should be trained to ask if someone has a blog and treat bloggers more carefully than other people. That made me feel slightly sick to be honest. However in this instance then every piece of citizen journalism matters, I guess.

    Thanks, both of you


  4. I don’t know, I can see my MP thinking ‘she came all this way to express vague worry and lack of confidence’ – I don’t know how things should be, I just don’t like the way they seem to be going. And reading the Tooke report I thought at last some intelligence is being applied to the situation ….

    I first heard of MTAS through an aquaintance who was going through it (and who has now left the profession) – I thought he was exaggerating at first, what a moaner I thought, I couldn’t believe the account he gave. But as details emerged I realised he’d been accurate. And apart from the crazy, inflexible, authoritarian way it was done, as a computer progammer who has worked on similar systems I was amazed by the sheer incompetence of the implementation. And the arrogant lack of concern for people you’d think would be valued employees. And the feeling that details of individual competence or excellence or enthusiasm or experience didn’t matter, and the way people doing a seriously stressful and difficult job were given totally unneccesary extra stress, and the way it could all have been predicted and wasn’t …..

    And why does the press seem to try to drum up envy and anger in that every reference to a GP or consultant mentions (probably inaccurately) how much they earn, they don’t do that for lawyers, bank managers or accountants.


  5. Join us for the rally even if you don’t feel up to bearding your MP in his or her den. Mums 4 Medics will have a contingent which is probably who I’ll be with, not being a doctor of any description. You’d be more then welcome.

    The Remedy site says: “We still need you to come! We are planning a rally outside Parliament before the Mass Lobby takes place. There will be high profile speakers and a media presence – making the rally as important as the lobby itself. And numbers matter. We’ll have placards and banners available to you on the day.”

    I’ve dropped you an email with some more details.

    Hope to see you there.

    All the best


  6. Hi Aphra,

    Glad you’re going to the rally – it’s important to keep this going. This is a hard fight, but there’s still everything to play for especially with the Westminster election coming round. Myself and our campaign members are meeting the Scottish Health minister next month and we’ll be tackling the GP contract. I think we’re beginning to win. But don’t lose heart and do keep blogging about it. I actually put a link on my blog to your post on MMCs because it was so well explained .
    One of the problems is that it takes journalists quite a while to get their head round what is happening and why. Health is a very complicated area and I actually reckon it takes an average of six months for a journalist to understand something like MMC and the general public about two years (unless someone in their family is familiar with it.) Thats why it’s so important to keep blogging and building up the number of links on a subject – one well explained post can make all the difference. Keep your chin up gal!

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