GMB row erupts as guest calls for striking NHS staff to be banned fromApril 17, 2023
Emma Woolf says doctors are ‘not all heroes’
Journalist Emma Woolf appeared on Monday’s Good Morning Britain to join a debate about NHS strikes and whether invites to King Charles III’s coronation should be taken away from the medics. ITV presenters Ed Balls and Susanna Reid led the discussion with Emma and striking doctor Emeka Okorocha, and a clash occurred when Emma claimed nurses and doctors are not “heroes” and the NHS receives “more money” than any other country’s healthcare system.
“Imagine you had received an invitation to the coronation of our King and then you got a note from the palace to say, ‘terribly sorry, we’ve found out that you actually went on strike, we’re rescinding the invite,’ what would you think?” Susanna asked the doctor.
“Well, first of all, it’s not for a pay rise, it’s more a pay restoration,” he replied.
The NHS worker continued: “So, junior doctors aren’t striking for more money, it was more striking to restore the money that we as junior doctors and doctors within the profession have expected back from when it was decreased back in the 2000s.
“So, it’s different. I think a lot of people assume junior doctors just want more money, there’s so much more to the strike than that.”
He continued: “I think it’s completely different of an issue to the coronation of the King, so I think punishing junior doctors for industrial action is completely absurd.”
Later, Susanna turned the question over to Emma, who stated: “I have a lot of respect for doctor Emeka.
“But can I just remind him of the hypocritic oath he took as a new doctor?
“I’m assuming he took his oath, ‘I shall never intentionally cause harm to my patients,’ so can we be really clear?
“These strikes are causing harm to patients. In some cases, lives will be lost. I think we need to get away from this idea that the NHS is a sacred cow.
“We need to get away from this idea that all medics, all health workers, all doctors, all paramedics are heroes.
“We applauded them during the pandemic, many of them are absolutely amazing. I’ve encountered wonderful doctors and nurses, I’ve also encountered lazy nurses.
“You know, doctors who don’t do their jobs properly, we need to get away from this idea, the NHS needs reform.
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“The reasons for the pressure on the NHS are things like obesity, it’s things like immigration.”
“So, Emma, just to understand, you’re saying that doctor Emeka who went on strike is a doctor but in your view, he is not a hero?” Ed asked.
“He is a hero because he works in A&E-” Emma began before Ed pointed out: “But he went on strike.”
“Yes,” she responded as Ed cut in: “So in your definition, he’s not a hero.”
“He’s not a hero, I wouldn’t call anyone a hero,” Emma backtracked, adding: “He took that oath, are you telling me these strikes are not causing harm to patients?”
“I’m just a bit confused here,” Ed stated. “You said NHS workers are not all heroes, is doctor Emeka not a hero because he went on strike?”
“I’m not going to attack him personally, he does fantastic work in A&E and all of his work, I’m just saying the NHS needs reform and if we keep treating it like this sacred cow we aren’t going to get anywhere.
“Ed we cannot pour more billions into the NHS, as a politician you know this. We have very, very poor medical outcomes.”
Emma went on to claim Germany and the USA have less money for their medical care organisations than the NHS get, which Ed pointed out was “incorrect”.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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