An open letter from the NHSpace blog to all those doctors considering what action to take.
You’ve come a long way since the ballot on industrial action last year. You’ve forced the government to come back to the table at least twice, and got concessions out of them. You did this by maintaining a united front, and by being honest and measured whilst your opponents were being deceitful and excessive.
That’s why you still hold the cards. Hunt went all-in months ago with his ‘imposition’. He has no greater sanction left, and can only harm you in the court of public opinion. And so Hunt is trying to convince the public to turn against you.
“Hunt’s contract is far more damaging than any strike. He’s stretched the NHS so thin that people are already falling through the cracks.”
But he hasn’t succeeded yet. A new poll shows 57% of the public still support the strikes, and 51% believe Hunt should not have been reappointed. You can still win the public relations battle. Just do the following:
1 – Be team players. If the public think that doctors are divided over the contract and the strikes, they’ll lose faith in you.
2 – Be constructive. If you don’t like the strikes, focus your energy on talking about the issues you want fixed, rather than attacking your colleagues.
3 – Keep the message simple. The government are still pursuing the ‘7-day NHS’ line, which is easy for the public to follow. So remember: Hunt’s contract is far more damaging than any strike. He’s stretched the NHS so thin that people are already falling through the cracks.
4 – Expect to win, and soon. The government may have put on their poker face, but underneath the pressure is showing. If you can keep the public on your side, the government will have to cave in soon.
Regardless of what you think of the strikes, you must work together to win this fight. The very future of the NHS depends on your actions in these coming days and weeks.