Thursday 14 January 2016

The doctors' strike

I have little understanding of the points of contention in the doctors strike.

What I do know is that:

1.  Strikes are usually the result of bad management.

2.  When there's a 98% vote in favour of the strike, then this is no dispute whipped up by hotheads, but the result of serious and deeply felt misgivings.

The government's record on this issue is devious to say the least.  The Conservatives promised in their election campaign  in 2010 that there would be "no top-down reorganisation of the NHS."  This was no "small print" assurance, but was blazoned on large posters.

Yet within weeks after the election measure for the the "top down" reorganisation were introduced and it was clear that they had been in preparation for  months if not years.  Despite the opposition of the British Medical Association, the doctors' union, the "reforms" were pushed through.  The blundering originator of the reforms, Andrew Lansley, was replaced (he is now in the House of Lords and has what is presumably a nice little earner as advisor to a drug company) but his successor, Jeremy Hunt, appointed to  "smooth things out" continues the bullying tactics.

In yesterday's Guardian  Dr Tamal Ray ( also star of a televised baking competitions) writes:

Our eyes have been opened to the subtle dismantling of a healthcare system we believe in and this has inspired a movement for change.
Over the years, beginning with Mr Thatcher, the Tories have successfully emasculated the
 unions acting for blue-collar workers.  Let's hope they've met their match in the BMA, and learn the lessons.

Good management is not achieved by diktat, but by co-opting the workforce, or at least its representatives, into what sociologists call the "authority hierarchy."  Successful management, like government, is by discussion.  I expect the discussions over the next couple of weeks will find a solution to the immediate dispute, and that it will be so phrased that both sides can claim victory.

The lesson is that arrogant dictatorship from a government supported by only 36% of those who voted, and,  becasue of the low turnout,  only some 25% of those entitled to vote, is not a successful method of running a modern democracy.

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