Tag Archives: Parliament

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.

Lords, Ladies and Politicos

Ten Lords a-LeapingI’ve just spent an hour or so going through the biographies of the members of the House of Lords. Well, those whose names begin with the letters A-F. (It seemed to me that it might be worth writing to members of the House of Lords as well as to MPs and local papers and so on about the whole MMC thing) . They’re a pretty rum bunch, I have to say.

There really is no such thing as a “Typical” Lord, but there are some Types.

The Activist

The men big up their early jobs as postmen or lathe-turners and also lay great stress on their activities in a Union or in Local Government. The women may have spent a few years nursing and lots of years telling other people how to nurse. Some activists were loonie-leftie counsellors in the basket-weaving-black-disabled-lesbian-creche days of the GLC. Others have a long career fighting real problems such as ethnic minority rights.

The Career Civil Servant

Remember Sir Humphrey? He’s now Lord Oleaginous of Patronage.

The Hereditary

Public School, the Royal Agricultural College, a year or two in the Army, and a life either animal husbandry or merchant banking. Or both. No jokes about buggery or the collective noun for bankers being a wunch, please. Mind you, one of the youngest of them lists his career as “artist” and his interest as “keeping bees”.

The Engineer or the Scientist

I was suprised by the number of engineers who end up in the House of Lords. On the other hand, engineering covers quite a wide range of activities: construction, petrochemicals, bio-engineering, even manufacturing. I found it rather comforting to see so many science degrees though.

The Lawyer

A couple of law degrees, a distinguished career, a choice of wigs. Why practice law when you can make it?

The Media Type

These ones have the flakiest or luvviest CVs. I am sorry, but being an advertising agent does not make you one of the great and good. The press barons make this lot look seedy, and when you think how seedy the press barons are, that is quite an achievement.

The Lords are an educated bunch, most of them have good first degrees, (though there are a depressing number of economists on the red benches), and a fair number of them have Masters or Doctorates too. I was particularly impressed by the Physicist who mentioned that he had 14 honorary doctorates.

I’ll tell you something else about the Lords. They are all incredibly well connected. They are networkers par excellence, (apart from the bee-keeping artist). They get involved. They sponsor this, and chair that, and are members of the other, and have been doing it for two, three or even four decades.

Secretly, I’m rather impressed. Some of them are quite clearly deeply experienced professionals: intelligent, educated and probably wise. Others are slimy brown-nosing politicos. There were a fair few of them I’d like to meet. By and large, I was surprised by the diversity in the Upper Chamber.

PS – If you fancy a stint looking for doctors in ermine, please start at the letter L, and post the names of whoever you find in the comments. Not that I’m cadging, or anything.