If you’ve been on social media over the weekend, you’ll have seen #ImInWorkJeremy growing ever stronger.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt announced in his speech on Thursday that all new hospital consultants will be forced to work at weekends. This comes after the recent Government proposals for a seven-day NHS by the end of the decade. In a speech to the Kings Fund, Hunt said:
“Around 6,000 people lose their lives every year because we do not have a proper seven day service.”
Since the government gave consultants the right to opt out of working at weekends back in 2003, Jeremy Hunt believes consultants’ working hours were having “tragic consequences” on patients and the Government is not prepared to compromise, it’s unacceptable that in the 21st century, hospitals operate on a skeleton of staff at weekends.
It is a privilege for Consultants, as Nurses, Midwives, Paramedics etc do not have the option to opt out of working weekends.
Since the future plans mentioned by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt were broadcast, this weekend has shown NHS workers across the country joining forces to let the Health Secretary know exactly what they’re up to this weekend and to prove that doctors do work.
The #ImInWorkJeremy campaign was trending on Twitter on Saturday and the campaign’s Facebook page already has over 11,000 likes.
The NHS workers have spent the weekend tweeting Jeremy Hunt pictures of them at work telling the Secretary what they’re up to.
— Robert Salaman (@robert_salaman) July 19, 2015
Consultant Anaesthetist, Paul Townsley tweeted his weekend along with #oneofusisanidiot.
— Paul Townsley (@paultownsley09) July 19, 2015
— Emily Bolton (@EmilyBolton19) July 19, 2015
Paramedic Lousie Nicholson from Nottingham
— Louise Nicholson (@loulou_1984) July 19, 2015
Finona Lawson, a Neonatal Intensive Care Matron worked all weekend tweeting both on Saturday and Sunday.
#ImInWorkJeremy full team on NICU all weekend. Nurses AHPs cleaners consultants included. Nothing else to do on a summer weekend is there??
— Fiona Lawson (@NeonatalMatron) July 18, 2015
— Fiona Lawson (@NeonatalMatron) July 19, 2015
Even during an 80-hour shift, Rod Hammett was still smiling.
— Rod Hammett (@HammettRod) July 18, 2015
Laura Land’s letter.
Facebook allowed the doctors to go into more depth about their feelings of Jeremy Hunt’s accusation. Laura Land‘s letter to Mr Hunt was shared over 33,000 times and received over 66,000 likes in less than 24 hours of being posted:
“Dear Jeremy Hunt,
Do you remember the story about the patient who went to hospital on Friday night and didn’t get seen by a doctor until Monday morning? Me neither….
Are you at work this weekend Jeremy? Because I am. Thank you for making out that we’re lazy, money-grabbing doctors who don’t want to work long hours, especially at the weekend.
Despite being employed part time (I have a nine-month-old son at home), I’ll have worked over 60 hours this week. We, Jeremy, are the people skipping lunch so we can make sure our patients’ paperwork is done so they can go home on time. We’re the people missing family birthdays, our friends’ weddings, our children’s first steps, because we’re putting our patients’ needs first. We are the people that don’t see our own families anywhere near as much as we’d like to, because we’re busy taking care of yours.
The NHS workforce is at breaking point Mr Hunt. Morale is shot, burnout is at an all time high and to be honest, I think the vast majority of us are wondering what the hell we did this job for in the first place. This is certainly not what I signed up for when I skipped off to Medical School at 18, thinking I’d “make a difference”.
Stop making out we’re lazy, stop making out we’re greedy and stop trying to create a problem that doesn’t exist. I’ve yet to come across a speciality in which the consultant isn’t either at work all weekend or at the end of the phone (willing to come in at any time should we need them).
Until, Mr Hunt, you establish a better understanding of how Doctors and hospitals work (it seems you’ve still failed to grasp the difference between routine and emergency care) I suggest you take a step back from your post as Health Secretary. Perhaps let someone who knows what they’re talking about and actually listens to us, take over. If you don’t Jeremy, you’ll be going down in history forever as the man that killed the NHS. Could you live with all that blood on your hands?
So for now, Mr Hunt, farewell. I’m off to do a 12 hour night shift. Enjoy your work-free weekend, your parliament free summer (recess is 21st July – 7th September correct?) oh, and your cheeky 10 per cent pay rise.”
It’s not just NHS workers who are backing #ImInWorkJeremy. 25-year-old Natalie from Sheffield tweeted to show her support.
#ImInWorkJeremy is brilliant. You people are all my heroes.
— Natalie (@nataliefaulkner) July 19, 2015
The Hunt reaction.
In response to the tweets received, Jeremy Hunt thanked all of the doctors on shift via a tweet. He even included #ImInWorkJeremy.
To drs on shift 2day: thx 4 ur hard work. Now we need 2 reflect that professionalism wth modern contract 2 make NHS safer!#ImInWorkJeremy
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 18, 2015
If it wasn’t enough for the NHS workers, Mr Hunt posted an image of himself with staff from University College Hospital UCLH on Saturday 18 July. Not only had he actually visited the hospital on Friday instead of the weekend shift on Saturday, but he has also been accused of breaching patient confidentiality as the photo he had taken showed a board listing the patients on the ward in the background.
Fascinating visit 2 see brain surgery at UCLH and inspirational leadership of Neil Kitchen. Thx 4 making me welcome pic.twitter.com/mAQG0eO2Jy
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 18, 2015
Hastily editing the photo once the breach was noticed, twitter users however, had noticed and tweeted their thoughts to Mr. Hunt.
.@Jeremy_Hunt how much did you pay them to smile?
— Isabelle Farah (@is_ab_el_le) July 18, 2015
.@Jeremy_Hunt if I tweeted a photo with patient identifiable information to over 70,000 people I would deserve to lose my job as NHS worker.
— Lauren Nicole Jones (@Lauren_SLT) July 18, 2015
In my view, Consultants working hours are fine. They work very hard to ensure that our nation is well and are always on hand. Although they may not work 24/7, Consultants are available around the clock. Their contracts allow them to have weekends off if they like, but they’re on call, so are willing to head back to the hospital if a patient is in need of the Consultant’s help. This means that they always put their patients first, they’re willing to miss out on family occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, etc to look after people.
The #ImInWorkJeremy campaign has proved how dedicated everyone is who works for the NHS, and how much they admire their job. By just reading the tweets and statuses on Facebook, you really get a sense of how much their job means to them. Jeremy Hunt wants to make our health care system even bigger and better, but could he be destroying our beloved NHS by pushing employees too far?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @KettleMag with the hashtag #ImInWorkJeremy