Real doctors – not spin doctors were out in force in Farnham.

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Pictured here last Saturday

With only days to go before our junior doctors embark on the most damaging all out strike in the country’s history, isn’t it time our MP Jeremy Hunt started to jaw jaw before war,war takes place in our overstretched hospital A & E Departments?

Says Dr Louise Irvine – the woman who stood against Mr Hunt in the General Election and who spoke at the Farnham rally..

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and…we here at the Waverley Web agree wholeheartedly. Why? because bullying our junior doctors is no way to win friends and influence people. Also this situation could have seriously damaging effects on the medical profession for many years to come. The Waverley Web knows of doctors/nurses/and many health professionals who feel as though they are trudging through treacle to keep services going, and are looking at ways of getting out – leaving the country, which inevitably leads to more foreign doctors and more foreign nurses!  Next week’s action is their way of demonstrating their frustration with Jeremy Hunt’s handling of “our health service.” More pictures click here.

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Our hospitals Mr Hunt are in crisis – so is our 111 system and our GP surgeries. 

Jeremy Hunt is under mounting pressure over his handling of the junior doctors’ dispute after he unexpectedly abandoned his repeated threat to impose a new contract on them – a move that has led to four strikes by doctors so far.

Hunt’s change of tack, which comes as a high court legal challenge to him over the dispute begins today, has led Labour to claim that he may have misled parliament over the contract imposition because he has spoken of the threat repeatedly in front of MPs in the House of Commons.

Junior doctors are due to strike for a fifth time on 26 and 27 April, this time opting out of all care, including emergency treatment.

The health secretary has retreated from his claim that he has the right to exercise what he called the “nuclear option” of imposition. His U-turn is revealed in a letter from the government’s lawyers that was seen by the Guardian and confirmed by his own Department of Health.

Hunt’s insistence now that he is merely “introducing” the contract has prompted questions about his negotiating tactics during the seven-month dispute and whether he has been in breach of his powers by using the threat. He regularly outlined in Commons debates, speeches and interviews the government’s intention to compel junior doctors to accept changes that have provoked anxiety across the medical profession and NHS.
“The reason why this is so significant is that junior doctors have entered into a period of unprecedented industrial action off the back of his decision to impose the contract. If Jeremy Hunt is now claiming he isn’t imposing the contract, then this also raises the prospect that he has misled parliament.”

Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat health minister under Hunt until last May, said: “It appears that this is now in a state of shambles and that the secretary of state is in a hole and can’t move forward on this. The government’s latest legal position seems to show that Jeremy Hunt had no power to impose [the contract] all along.

“This is quite a dramatic change from the assumption that people have had that the health secretary is able to force junior doctors to abide by this contract. If he’s changed the language from ‘imposing’ to ‘introducing’, it may be that there’s no way the government can continue to try to get this contract implemented. It looks like the contract is dead in the water, that it has no life in it, like the dead parrot in Monty Python,” said Lamb, who was an employment lawyer before becoming an MP.

The fact that Hunt is no longer claiming to be imposing the contract is outlined in a five-page letter sent last Friday by the Government Legal Department to Bindmans, the solicitors acting for a company called Justice for Health, formed by five junior doctors. They are going to the high court on Monday to formally initiate a judicial review of the lawfulness of Hunt’s right to impose the contract, which will make Saturday part of a trainee medic’s usual working week for the first time.

In the letter, government solicitors state that Hunt has decided to “proceed with the introduction of a new contract” and that he is legally entitled to do so under the NHS Act 2006. It does not mention “imposition” at any point or cite any of Hunt’s countless uses of that threat. The letter dismisses the junior doctors’ lawsuit as “simply misconceived”.

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