Thursday 22 February 2018

Singing surgeon's song of protest over junior doctors' contract

Jeremy Hunt says he will impose the contract
Jeremy Hunt says he will impose the contract

A singing surgeon has released a song in protest at the imposition of the junior doctors' contract in England.

Dr Rishi Dhir, a junior doctor who has worked in the NHS for 10 years, describes himself as a singer, songwriter and surgeon.

His protest song, Stand Up, has been co-written and produced by Faithless guitarist Dave Randall, who said he was "delighted to get on board".

The track, which can be downloaded on iTunes, includes lyrics such as "It's not safe, not fair but they just don't care. We did not sign up for this."

Dr Dhir said he was looking for a fresh way to get people interested in the long-running row over junior doctors' contracts in England and he thought a song might act as a sharp "rallying call to action".

He told Sky News: "I felt that as doctors we are the front line of the National Health Service. We are the people who have to stand up and protect our patients, so that is why I got interested in the political side of things.

"People say that a picture paints a thousand words. I think a great song can create a thousand messages.

"It is a message of positivity and solidarity and of bringing people together to say 'stand up for your rights, stand up and fight, do not accept this because even a single man or woman can change things'."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the Government will impose a new contract on junior doctors across England.

He said it had been a "difficult decision" to take but the NHS needed certainty, including in light of the UK's decision to leave the EU.

It comes after junior doctors and medical students rejected a contract brokered between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Government, with 58% voting against the deal while 42% voted in favour.

Some 68% of those eligible turned out to vote - around 37,000 junior doctors and medical students.

In a Commons statement, Mr Hunt said: "In May, the Government and NHS Employers reached an historic agreement with the BMA on a new contract for junior doctors after three years of negotiations and several days of damaging strike action."

He said the contract was seen as a good deal by Dr Johann Malawana, who was then chairman of the BMA's junior doctors' committee, and was endorsed by royal medical colleges.

He added: "Unfortunately because of the vote we are now left in a no-man's land that, if it continues, can only damage the NHS."

Dr Dhir feels the contract does not give doctors protection against whistleblowing if they try to make a complaint against a problem with patients' safety, that it does not protect overworked doctors and it is discriminatory against anyone who takes time out of medicine.

Press Association

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