This is our truth, tell us yours
Apparently the government here in the UK is dedicated to providing us with a seven day NHS.
Call me blinkered, but somehow I had overlooked the Sunday epidemic of disease and death caused by hospitals being closed. Somehow, too, I had failed to notice the lack of ambulances on the road on weekends because we don’t have a seven day health service. That doctor who stitched my friend’s hand on a Sunday afternoon after she got bitten (by a dog, not a Tory) while leafletting for Labour? Obviously, she was an aberration, because the government is telling us, ad nauseam, that we don’t currently have a seven day health service.
Astonishingly, given the epidemic of disease and death that needs to be dealt with that results from the shutdown of the entire NHS on weekends, parliamentarians of all colours will spend most of the next six weeks at home, in their constituencies, with their families. They would, I suspect, describe this as part of a healthy work life balance. It would, they protest, undermine the solemnity and traditions of parliament if they were asked to turn up to the House of Commons on a weekend, when it’s more convenient for us all to watch them. (Although, to be fair,they maynot like being watched. Law making is like sausage making; if you saw the ingredients and the way they’re made you’d never trust the finished product again). So, we leave the hugely expensive and chronically under used Palace of Westminster dark on weekends, because legislators like a healthy work life balance.
NHS workers deserve a healthy work life balance too.
NHS workers deserve terms and conditions that acknowledge the hours they work, the challenges they face, and the amount we value them. We need to recruit the best possible health workers, so they deserve to be well remunerated, in order to attract the best possible candidates. These arguments are very similar to the arguments deployed by the independent review body that decided MPs deserve an 11%pay rise. NHS workers will get, for the next four years,a 1% pay rise per year.
The rhetoric of the seven day health service is all part of the attack on the NHS, that is geared up to suggesting we don’t currently have a superb NHS, and that it needs to be broken apart into tiny pieces in order to make it better. In order to make this profitable for the private sector, NHS workers terms and conditions have to be broken. The seven day NHS is part of that strategy. So, on Sunday, if you’re having a great weekend off, remember; NHS workers deserve their weekend off too, and if they can’t have one, they deserve to be compensated for the work they do, for us.