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Showing posts from September, 2015

Junior Doctors deserve better from the government

So here we are. Junior doctors across England are to be balloted by the BMA (the doctors union if you like) over potential industrial action in response to the Government’s plans to impose a new contract on junior doctors from August 2016.  So how did we get here? Let us be clear. This isn't simply about pay.  It is also about patient safety.

Last month the BMA’s UK junior doctors committee rejected the Government’s attempts to force through a new contract over fears for patient and doctor safety, and opted not to re-enter contract negotiations. The decision was made after it became clear that junior doctors would not be able to negotiate over proposals the BMA believes are unsafe for patients, unfair to doctors and undermine the future of the NHS.

The BMA say it has always wanted to reach agreement on a new contract that protects patient safety and doctors’ wellbeing, but rather than work with junior doctors to address their concerns the government has confirmed that it will impos…

Foolish to write off Jeremy Corbyn

As I mentioned in my last article, I did not support Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party, but Jeremy Corbyn has already shaken the political establishment. He may not look like a Prime Minister in waiting, but he may change the face of British politics for the better - substance and passion may win out over spin.

He has an uphill task made more difficult by a hostile press and a puzzled media.  Here is a bloke who answers questions with some degree of sincerity.  When he doesn't know, he disarmingly says so. He has none of the slickness of the political elite. He is rough and ready in sound and appearance. Somehow, the political establishment have found themselves with an outsider.  Already they are writing him off, but I detect a bit of hedge betting.  Even the gainsayers have a niggling question - is he for real? The answer, of course, is yes.

Politics in Britain hasn't encountered a conviction politician at the helm of a major party since Margaret Thatcher…

Storm in a tea cup?

Regular readers will know that I did not support Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership elections. I said he appealed to my heart but not my head. Since then he has won a handsome victory.  The media say his start has been chaotic.  It is difficult to see how it could have been different.

Of course he could have sung the national anthem and not given ammunition to the right wing press.  My advice would have been to have sung it, but it raises an important issue. Do we really judge that those who would wish not to sing the anthem are being unpatriotic? I cannot see the logic of that.

I am not strongly republican, but nor am I a monarchist. I live with the constitutional monarchy but with little enthusiasm for it.  Of course it works - or at least it seems to work.  It works so long as we don't question it too much.  When we do that we open a can of worms. So best keep a lid on it. The truth is that it is part of a system that maintains the privilege of a few. Now I don't expe…

Parents back calls for all UK academies and free schools to meet same healthy food standards as state schools

As children across the UK settle back into school, a new online survey from the BMA reveals that the majority of parents (77 per cent) back calls to ensure food served at academies and free schools meets the same healthy standard as other state schools.

Despite strict food regulations for local authority schools in England, more than 3,500 academies and 200 free schools do not have to meet the same standards, raising concerns that children in these schools are more likely to be served poorer quality food.

In the survey of 2,000 parents of children aged four to 16 across the UK, eight out of 10 (79 per cent) also support calls for a free, daily piece of fruit or vegetable to be provided to UK school children up to the age of 114.

This comes amid accusations of a government U-turn over plans to tackle obesity, and as the government cuts another £200 million from the public health budget which will undermine efforts to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.

The survey foll…