The Battle to Save the NHS: Tomorrow’s Doctors Write to Prime Minister

MEDSIN Media Release For Immediate Use: Thursday 15th March 2012

On Tuesday 13th March four medical students from different medical schools across the UK got together online. They agreed to write an open letter to David Cameron to tell him why they don’t trust his NHS reforms. The letter, which originated from students at Bart’s and the London Medical School, tells Mr Cameron why medical students from across the country are very concerned about the healthcare system they will qualify into if the Health and Social Care bill is passed next week. Within 36 hours, the letter has accumulated over 2000 signatures.

The letter will be delivered to No 10 at 1pm on Thursday afternoon by the medical students themselves.

The letter is written from the perspective of “Tomorrow’s Doctors”, a term which, in medical student circles, has come to stand for teaching of professional conduct and ethical standards on medical curriculums. It also refers to legislation regarding medical education. The legislation urges medical students to ‘raise concerns about patient safety’, and that is exactly what Vita Sinclair, Anya Gopfert, Joy Clarke and Cameron Stocks say they are doing, adding their voices to the dozens of professional bodies that have already spoken out against the reforms.

The four medical students all belong to the national student-led organisation, Medsin. Medsin is in its 15th year of campaigning on issues of health inequality and its philosophy ‘think global, act local’ has often meant tackling international issues. Over the past year however, Medsin has put increased effort into a campaign in the UK, campaigning against the Health Bill, which threatens a health system known to be the most efficient and equitable health service in the world.

The letter asks Mr Cameron not to ‘gamble with our shared right to comprehensive health care’, says it is ‘not too late’to drop the Bill’ , and calls on the Prime Minister to help make sure that medical students qualify into an NHS where they are able to collaborate for greater efficiency, greater equality and better outcomes for all their patients.

Anya Gopfert, Medsin national policy and advocacy director said,

“My main concern is that the Health Bill will cause greater variation in the quality and a widening of inequalities in access to healthcare between different Clinical Commissioning Groups. This new postcode lottery will also mean that patients could be treated differently and poorer communities and more vulnerable people may get a worse service. Patients could even be charged for care that is currently free, depending on the private company that their healthcare is contracted to.”

Vita Sinclair from King’s College London added:

‘The Health Bill is dangerous because it is so complicated that people struggle to understand what is happening to their NHS. If the Bill is passed , we will see gradual changes leaving vulnerable populations like the homeless or simply those with a complicated medical history at high risk of being treated unfairly or not treated at all. We want Mr Cameron and the Government to drop the Bill”


8 responses to “The Battle to Save the NHS: Tomorrow’s Doctors Write to Prime Minister

  1. It will be interesting to see what the reply is.

  2. hypercryptical

    Interesting indeed – or will it be ignored, brushed aside as with all other dissenting voices?

    Anna :o]

  3. Hi Jonathan and all who read this Blog,
    I’m very much aware that tomorrow could be the crunch day
    in the HOL for delaying the final passage of the Bill.
    (Hard to find any coverage of this though?)

    Thankyou for all your contributions to campaigning and raising awareness;
    voices of NHS staff have rarely been heard in this debate- and that includes
    a whole range of roles and professions!

    Eg in primary care and community: midwives, HV’s, OT’s, physio’s,
    practice nurses, mental health staff,and allied organizations such as Surestart; roles in socially deprived areas such as family support workers;
    much as GP’s have a key role to play in this debate- it’s about the whole community working together and having a collective voice on this.

    liason with charities, housing support, drugs and alcohol services etc.

  4. Just seen the Independent articles today:
    front page- “Doctor’s bid to unseat 50 MP’s…..;”
    and- “Doctors in the House….GP’s and consultants to stand against
    coalition MP’s…..;” leading article- “Doctors to the rescue;”
    Brilliant idea- just wish could have been aired sooner.
    Maybe a miracle is still possible this week!

    What I can’t fathom is- if everyone agrees this is totally the wrong way to go,
    how has it got this far and what can all of us do now to make a difference collectively?
    Many thanks to all.

  5. Hi Jonathan- sorry, only just found reply there.
    Hope it went well, and sorry to have missed!
    If you are able to post a clip of this later-
    would be great to see?
    Not sure where to find HOL debates today;
    coverage appears so limited.
    Would just like to wish you and all involved
    in any kind of campaigning or writing to raise awareness
    the very best of luck- we will all need it!
    Let’s hope a miracle is possible, even at this
    last hurdle….
    Best, Jo.

  6. Thankyou Jonathan- I’ll look into that!

    I don’t quite know what to make of today’s proceedings;
    many of them seem very happy with themselves; it’s as if
    they haven’t got a clue about what staff are going to have to face.

    The awful thing is, as you said on the other blog- this will be
    so difficult to reverse.

    What I cannot understand one iota is why the professional bodies
    and experts have been sidelined and ignored- despite overwhelming
    opposition, and public opinion against?
    It’s almost like contempt; I suppose they are more interested in damage limitation now and brushing under the carpet; perhaps they think the GP’s et al can sort out their mess…..

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