Friday, 29 April 2016

Standing up for our Junior Doctors And why Lucy Allan’s comments are so absurd

Over the last three days I have been shocked by the comments made by Telford MP Lucy Allan against junior doctors both in tweets she has made and in a statement she made on her website.

On 27th April she tweeted:

Junior doctors: privileged young people, with tax payer funded training, who will become well paid consultants. #putpatientsfirst @TheBMA

In a statement made on her website yesterday she ended by saying:

“Having been afforded excellent life opportunities, junior doctors are holding the British public to ransom. People need to look past the lines being trotted out by the BMA to justify this action and question what is the real motive for these strikes.”

I am stunned by and ashamed of Lucy Allan’s comments because she is my MP and she has got her facts so horribly wrong.

The one profession I admire more than any other is the medical profession. This is something I could never do myself and I thank God that there are people who want to train and become doctors. There is a common saying that we trot out -  ‘it is not a matter of life or death’. Well, in the medical profession it often is a matter of life or death and in my view there is no greater responsibility than having someone’s life in your hands.

My family and I have had first-hand experience of hospital care with the NHS. We have found that doctors and nurses have always done a fantastic job, but it is clear that there is a shortage of resources. In my view the National Health Service is one of this country’s greatest assets but significant investment is needed to protect this valuable asset.   

Comments such as those made by Lucy Allan and the way in which this Government are mishandling the junior doctors' contracts will have the effect of making many doctors move abroad or change careers and will deter new doctors from entering the profession. We already have a crisis in the NHS through underfunding but the position will only get worse with a growing shortage of doctors.   

I do not understand why Lucy Allan is so spiteful in her attacks on junior doctors.  She is clearly wrong in what she has said as has been quickly pointed out by many irate junior doctors and also in some cases their parents.

Many junior doctors are not from privileged backgrounds, many are not ‘young’ (whatever Lucy Allan’s definition of young may be), many have huge debts through funding themselves through medical training and many do not go on to be well paid consultants.

I do not agree that junior doctors are holding the British public to ransom. Many of them have pointed out that they would earn a lot more under the new contracts the Government is seeking to impose but those doctors are still against the contracts because they are worried about patients’ safety and about making sure the NHS  is not dismantled.

Lucy Allan has to date not retracted her comments or issued an apology. Her track record of being in office has shown that she often deletes comments she regrets making but she generally does not apologise or admit that she is wrong.

I am afraid that Lucy Allan has a track record of making unsubstantiated allegations.  For example, she has made absurd claims about local councillors’ behaviour and she has alleged that she did not make up the words ‘Unless you die’ when she added them to a constituent’s email to make it appear as if he wished her dead.  In both of these examples she has failed to provide evidence to support her claims.

Following her attack on junior doctors Lucy Allan has been challenged by many people, including a large number from the medical profession, to provide evidence to support her claims but, predictably, she has largely ignored those claims and failed to provide the evidence.

I want to reassure junior doctors that many people in Telford, as well as myself, find Lucy Allan’s comments disgraceful. If it is any consolation, and I hope it will be to those reading this blog, the last paragraph of this article fromTotal Politics from 3 months ago stated :

‘But the member of the 2015 intake who has caused the biggest headache for the Tory leadership and generated the most controversy yet is Lucy Allan…..

...Rather than climbing the ministerial ladder, Tory sources suggest that Allan may have to instead focus on fighting off deselection threats as the next election approaches’.

 Neil Phillips