26th September 2016

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Matthew Syed - author of 'Black Box Thinking'
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In conversation with Roy Lilley
25th October 2016 - King's Fund - tickets here.
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
A journalist rang me; 'Where are we on the BMA strike?  What happened? What happens now?'
I wanted to say; 'I couldn't care less...'
I'm sick of the petulance, the threats, the costs and disruption and the chaos in their own ranks.  

I'm sick of the student politics

Talking to strikers on the picket line who are unable to do much more than chant a mantra 'not fair - not safe' but who had no idea why the deal on offer was such a bad deal it was worth bringing the NHS to its knees.

Abandoning 100,000 patients on waiting lists and cancelled clinic appointments.  Driving Trust chief executives (who have no say in this fight) around the bend trying to keep the show on the road.
Doctors are not what they used to be.
For me the JDs lost all support, standing and sympathy when the HSJ published the leaked emails showing us all the BMA leadership, far from wanting a settlement, wanted to protract the dispute by  series of rolling strikes throughout the year.
This was compounded when the HSJ revealed St David Dalton allowed himself to be persuaded that a letter, containing the final terms of the deal, should not be published.  I can think of no reason not to publish other that Machiavellian.
Months ago I recall writing about the dispute; strikes are a cul-de-sac and there is no way back.
The threat of a strike, an actual strike, more strikes, longer strikes, more-longer strikes.  Striking more for longer.  In the end the public, the press and other doctors will turn against you.
Exactly what has happened.  The BMA have redefined strategy and leadership; dysfunctional, political, clap-trap. They have unraveled.  And, how many JDs will give up three weeks wages to see this through?
The JDs allowed themselves to become the lightening rod for every complaint and cause about the current state of the NHS.  Heaven alone knows there are complaints and causes a'plenty.
The BMA saw themselves as the banner-brigade, heroically taking to the streets on behalf of us all; saving the NHS, by plunging it into chaos.  They have come unstuck.
The rights and the wrongs of the strike have been buried.
Weekend working.  The JDs already work weekends.  Re-positioning overtime payments to spread the financial load for Trusts seems sensible to me, as does the ambition that goes back to 2013.
Disadvantaging female doctors who leave to have a family, or work part-time is not some misogynistic plot.  Neither is it a plot against Dos who take time out for research.  It is the reality of a workforce that will soon be 50-50 in gender balance and needs a reboot and a fresh approach.   How denying yer granny her hip operation resolves any of this baffles me.
Gaps in Rotas?  There are not enough doctors.  There are more doctors than we have ever had but there are, still, not enough.  A combination of coalition politics and HEE living the the '70s left us in a mess.  How denying Uncle Bill a new knee fixes this is beyond me.
Seven day services.  For a definition look on the NHSE website, it is a sensible idea.  Time and again docs have told me they can't get tests and stuff done at the weekends.  Nothing to do with the JDs.  How deferring Harry's cataract operation fixes that, I can't see.
The weekend effect?  Some say there is one, some say their isn't.  The BMJ seems to think there is...  All I know is; if I'm gonna have a heart attack I'll try and avoid the weekends and try to have it at fabulous Frimley Park.  How standing on a picket line will improve my chances I dont get.

More money.  Agreed but it's a political decision.  Driving up waiting times, forcing post-strike costs to go up, to catch up, seems to be a calculation beyond strikers.
The high flyers of the BMA have landed badly.  The British Machiavellian Army exposed for what it is.
From my entirely unscientific travels around the country asking doctors how they think the BMA have handled this... I'm yet to find a single soul who has said 'well'.
This is a serious setback for the BMA, they look to be stuck in an Arthur Scargill, Red-Robo past.
Trusts will sort out what remains to be fixed and everyone will say they are pleased the end is insight.
The truth is the BMA have taken a hammering from which they will lose members, standing, reputation and probably never recover.
Doctors are not what they once were and neither is the BMA.
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Matthew Syed
Former Commonwealth Table Tennis Champion and author of Black Box Thinking

Half price tickets for IHM members
25th October
King's Fund
This is what I'm hearing;
if you know different,
tell me here
>>  I'm hearing - Tarzan and the Jim Reaper are not too pleased about the CCGs bickering and palavering about over contracts.  They will step in and decide what's what.  Now that's what you call grip Nicholson style isn't it?
Dr Rodney Jones 
New Analysis
The Elephant in the Room and rising Emergency Admissions 
Need inspiration, a good idea or solve a problem
Dr Rodney Jones
More excellent analysis
This time the number of critical care beds.
Cuppa-builder's read.
Writes exclusively for us
Swedish Warships and NHS Waiting Times.
Ooooh you'll like this.