The StirrerThe Stirrer

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

WHY HEWITT MAKES ME SICK

16-05-2007

At long last, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has submitted herself to a full-grown up interview about the government's hugely unpopular recruitment plan for junior doctors. Birmingham doctor David Nicholl watches her face the flak on Channel 4 News.

I challenge any neutral observer to have watched Patricia Hewitt's interview last night and not conclude that she is not fit to hold ministerial office.

OK, I admit that I'm not neutral and I haven't exactly been quiet on this matter. I have accused her of lying, and published the evidence to back this claim on the Stirrer, the Observer, the Lancet and Channel 4 news.

However there is a bigger issue - and on this I would agree with Mrs Hewitt - she is not the only culprit, as she has been largely supported by the medical establishment including the BMA and Royal Colleges who have done too little too late to stop this disaster (it truly is amazing what some people will do for a knighthood).

Some have done the decent thing. Prof Alan Crockard and Prof Shelly Heard two of the main architects of MMC have resigned, but many others have failed in their duty.

For this is a scandal which, yes, has and continues to affect thousands of junior doctors, but also, importantly will affect many thousands of patients as well as costing the taxpayer billions.

Sadly there are those in the medical establishment who, like Patricia Hewitt, have failed by being too worried about their own reputations.

Specifically, James Johnson (Chairman of the BMA) and Carol Black (Academy of Medical Royal Colleges) have e-mailed consultants this week to, in effect, threaten them that if they do not assist in the interview process they could be subject to legal action.

This is quite preposterous. If a consultant has genuine concerns that the process is unfair and illegal, they would be negligent if they took part.

Anyhow, the Department of Health have pulled the plug on the computer system MTAS, essentially as they are clearly worried as to what will happen in the judicial court case that starts tomorrow- watch this space!

Well done those journalists who have covered this story, it has been sad to see how the post-Hutton BBC has only treated stories such as this with kid gloves for fear of running foul of the government.

Leave a comment or raise new issues on The Stirrer message board.

©2006 The Stirrer