JAN MOIR: I can't support this selfish junior doctors' strikeApril 14, 2023
JAN MOIR: I can’t support this selfish junior doctors’ strike – and not just because my operation’s been cancelled
My hospital operation, due to take place today, was cancelled because of the junior doctors’ strike.
Mine is only one of 350,000 appointments lost in what is being regarded as the most damaging strike in NHS history. Yet I count myself among the fortunate ones. Mine was a routine procedure, nothing serious, so minor as to barely register a blip on the scale of medical exigencies.
‘I can see that it is not urgent,’ said the nice woman who rang up last week to tell me my appointment had been scrapped. Indeed not, I agreed. Far from. Lucky me.
We agreed a date two months hence and I got back to my life while she got back to working through her list; hundreds of people, being told by this one regretful, polite, harried NHS worker that the operations and procedures they had waited months, if not years, for were being put on hold.
This was a scene being replicated thousands of times all across England, all these long-planned treatments and actions and surgeries, all sacrificed in the latest bout of industrial action by medics pushing for a 35 per cent pay rise. That’s right, 35 per cent! Where did they get that figure from?
Mine is only one of 350,000 appointments lost in what is being regarded as the most damaging strike in NHS history
The British Medical Association claims that junior doctors have had a 26 per cent fall in pay value since 2008-09, and it is this which informs their demand for this huge rise — but many financial experts say this just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
And even if it did, surely it is something that affects us all? It would be lovely if the price of a restaurant dinner or bottle of wine or a new packet of Elastoplast reflected the price point of 15 years ago, but that is not going to happen any time soon.
Not unless I book a seat aboard the Dream-On Express, a non-stop service to the land they call Cloud Cuckoo. Apparently, tickets are scarce, because they have all been snapped up by junior doctors carrying pious banners that say things like ‘Diagnosis — Undervalued’ and ‘Saving Lives But No Savings’.
There is no doubt they need and deserve a better deal — but is this the way to go about it? To militantly pursue such a ridiculous rise during a cost of living crisis and at a time when waiting lists are at an all-time high?
This is not only indefensible, it suggests that junior doctors care about nothing except money — and that is hardly likely to engender public sympathy and support.
Neither is Dr Robert Laurenson, the co-chairman of the BMA junior doctors’ committee and one of the driving forces behind the strike.
Dr Laurenson has done the rounds of television news studios recently and you don’t need to be a medical expert to conclude he has a case of incurable plonkeritis.
This diagnosis was reinforced by his decision to go on a pre-booked holiday this week, while the industrial action he helped orchestrate brought the NHS to its knees.
The British Medical Association claims that junior doctors have had a 26 per cent fall in pay value since 2008-09, and it is this which informs their demand for this huge rise
A holiday during this mayhem — is that wrong? Well, it is certainly not right. And it suggests a callousness and indifference to the suffering this strike is causing. To be honest, I don’t know how he can sleep at night, let alone take a nice Easter break.
First do no harm? Some striking junior doctors certainly don’t seem to care about the patients whose health is being put at risk by their actions, whose deaths are being hastened because the life-saving operations they have been depending on have been put back — again.
It’s all right for me to wait, but it’s not all right for cancer patients, for emergency cases, for those suffering from chronic diseases, for those clinging on for much-needed treatments and for those waiting for the minor operations that would have a major effect on their lives.
Those who are ill or have illness in their family know that life revolves around those sacrosanct hospital appointments; inked onto the kitchen calendar, the next all-important step on the route to recovery.
If they are taken away, they can crush hope, leaving patients anxious, depressed and unable to get well soon, but thanks for asking.
Dr Laurenson has done the rounds of television news studios recently and you don’t need to be a medical expert to conclude he has a case of incurable plonkeritis
Over the years junior doctors have helped me and my family; we have all had cause to be grateful for their caring and expertise, so I don’t want to disparage them all.
But the entire country is going through a difficult economic climate and there are plenty who are worse off than junior doctors, especially as some medics can boost their salary with locum shifts and will soon be earning six-figure salaries as their careers progress.
That’s why I can’t support this selfish, calamitous strike — and although we all love and support the NHS, I suspect that most of the long-suffering public agree with me.
Houston, we have a drink problem…
Two women were dragged out of a theatre performance of The Bodyguard by security men after they refused to stop singing. Earlier this month, riot police were also called to the same venue in Manchester for a similar offence.
The flashpoint seems to come when the cast sing I Will Always Love You, the show’s biggest hit — and perhaps the alcoholic pre-loading peak for some members of the audience.
Whitney Houston, we have a drink problem. Is it getting to the stage where theatre goers, like some sporting crowds, will be banned from drinking inside the venue? What a retrogressive step for civilisation.
Two women were dragged out of a theatre performance of The Bodyguard by security men after they refused to stop singing (Pictured: Melody Thornton performing in The bodyguard)
Singing along is fair enough — she writes grudgingly — at rock concerts, although I did have to remonstrate at an Eagles concert when the woman next to me bellowed tunelessly through Peaceful Easy Feeling and several other hits.
She had a few more pints of cider and retaliated by playing air drums instead.
You can’t win. Especially with those for whom every night is a hen night and the selfish entitled who don’t know what good manners are, let alone the difference between a theatrical event and a rock show.
Tupperware is in danger of going down the plughole after nearly 80 years because Gen Z-ers don’t like or use it. Why not? Is it because they throw leftovers into the compost bin instead of making three more nutritious meals from an old potato, a few lentils and some green beans?
I have a friend who feeds her scraps to the — shudder — crows who congregate in her garden, waiting for lunch. I have another friend who won’t eat leftovers of anything because he has already eaten it and doesn’t want to eat it again.
Perhaps the young prefer cheaper and groovier storage brands? Or is it because so many foods are sold in their own containers that no one needs an £8 Heritage bowl from Tupperware any more.
Cling film? I could bore on for hours, but what I think is that it is us who have changed, not Tupperware. Too many are too spoiled for frugality these days.
The police were right, by golly
The landlady of an Essex pub whose collection of golliwog dolls was confiscated by police is going to replace them.
‘I’m going to put them back,’ said defiant Benice Ryley, adding that she would place a notice telling people who might be offended to stay away. She argues that she is entitled to her freedom of expression and her human right to display what she wants on her pub shelves.
And also that people read more into the dolls than is necessary. Oh come off it, Benice. Who are you trying to kid? We all know what the display of golliwogs in a public place suggests and exactly why it might be deemed offensive and racially hostile.
The landlady of an Essex pub whose collection of golliwog dolls was confiscated by police is going to replace them
Robertson’s took golliwogs off their jam jars nearly a quarter of a century ago, for all the right reasons. For one Essex pub to carry on pretending they are just cute and cuddly heirloom toys seems disingenuous, to say the least.
Benice and her husband Chris insist they are not racists, even though their golliwog displays might suggest the opposite.
Yet he has been photographed wearing a T-shirt from the fascist group Britain First, even though he is apparently not a supporter. ‘He was just wearing it because it was convenient at the time,’ Benice told newspapers.
How inconvenient it has come to light now. It wasn’t a waste of police time to confiscate the golliwogs — which are too much of a provocation to ignore. This ghastly pair should grow up — or shut up.
The search of the home of Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell was a sight for sore eyes. The forensic tent in the garden, the grim-faced detectives, the bustling officers carrying boxes of files into vans. It was so reminiscent of Line Of Duty that I keep expecting Supt Ted Hastings to appear, suspiciously eyeing Nicola’s £1,400 espresso machine. Now a luxury motorhome parked outside Murrell’s mother’s house has been seized, bought by the SNP for electioneering purposes but never used for that function. The police seem to be hunting for crucial evidence of wrongdoing — but what is the crime? The murder of the SNP, or the death of a dream? Or perhaps both? Only time will tell.
A film featuring a handsome divorcee trying to pierce the bourgeois darkness of suburban America and fill the hollowness at the heart of his soul while buying new towels for his bachelor bathroom? Count me in. Ben Mendelsohn stars as sad Anders in the Netflix film, The Land of Steady Habits. Joining him are three of my favourite actresses: Connie Britton , Edie Falco and Elizabeth Marvel, all on top form. The action takes place in an affluent Connecticut town, where all Anders has to do is bump into a woman in the tinned tomato aisle of the local grocery store and she is in bed with him before you can ask chopped or plum? Does any of this make Anders happy? You’ll have to watch it to find out. I can’t explain why, but any drama about bleak, middle-classmarriages always cheers me right up.
Actress Connie Britton stars in the Netflix film, The Land of Steady Habits
If she’s not at the Coronation, what will Meghan be doing?
Hear ye, hear ye. It was verily announced this week that the Duchess of Sussex will not be attending the Coronation of King Charles. It’s a no from her.
If Oprah is not going, neither is Meghan. If Joe Biden is not going, why should Meghan bother?
What will Meghan be doing when she is Not Attending The Coronation?
Travelling all that way only to get egged by a load of puffed-up chicks when she can get all that in her own hen coop at home?
Harry is going to attend briefly, no doubt wearing that familiar expression which suggests a fraught lobster is on the loose inside his underpants.
Can I just say something? It’s going to be marvellous. I simply cannot wait to see the great man-baby stomping around Westminster Abbey watching Daddy get crowned, only not in the way Harry would prefer.
In the meantime, exactly what will Meghan be doing when she is Not Attending The Coronation? Here are my best guesses:
1. Not Attending The Coronation. That in itself is a lifetime’s vocation to which the Duchess of Sussex is now dedicating herself.
2. Accepting a Lifetime Humanitarian Award from Gloria Steinem for Not Attending The Coronation.
3. Not wearing a tiara while Not Attending The Coronation.
4. Not wearing a tiara that is not her first choice tiara while Not Attending The Coronation.
5. Podcasting about Not Attending The Coronation.
6. Being photographed handing out sandwiches to the homeless while NATC.
7. Washing her hair.
8. Otherwise engaged.
9. Practising the Coronation Curtsey she won’t drop.
10. The End.
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