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”