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THE DOCTORS’ LOBBY AND THE EMPTY CHAIR

25-04-2007

Dozens of medics from the Midlands joined a demonstration in London yesterday against the government’s much-criticised Modernising Medical Careers programme for junior doctors. Stirrer blogger and City Hospital neurologist Dr David Nicholl joined them, and ended up on Channel 4 news.

MMC Demo MMC DEmo Dr David Nicholl and Julie Kirkbride MP Jon Snow and Dr David Nicholl

Yesterday, I joined the 600 or so junior doctors to lobby my MP at Parliament as part of the campaign over the farce that is MMC.

It started with the rally outside Parliament and it was good to see MPs from all three parties in attendance. I met my MP, Julie Kirkbride. Although I have written to her many times (on this and other issues), this was the first time I had met her face-to-face. She was genuinely shocked by the scale of this mess.

I finished by joking that the day that someone thinks of a website www.writetoyourneurologist.com like www.writetothem.com is the day I resign from work!

I then attended the first part of the Parliamentary debate - Julie had kindly got me a pass for the special visitors gallery no less! No security barrier for me- I promised I would be a good boy and not do any radical protests (a pin stripe suit was de rigeur I felt).

Nonetheless it was fascinating to see Patricia Hewitt herself - she really does appear to be the heartless, spineless so and so that she does on telly with an inability to answer a straightforward question or take responsibility for this mess.

It was highly amusing when the Tories suggested that one could use MTAS (the shambolic computerised system used to choose applicants) to help select cabinet ministers - this drew a round of spontaneous applause from the doctors in the visitors gallery.

Afterwards, I went straight on to Channel 4 news. Jon Snow and the team had tried all day to get any health minister do a head-to-head interview with me. Not a single one was available. I suggested to Jon Snow that Channel 4 should have had an empty chair for Patricia.

Their silence and ineptitude speaks volumes- see the interview with me here.
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