Ipsos MORI have re-asked their questions on the junior doctors’ dispute ahead of the second strike today. The overall level of support remains the same, with two-thirds backing the strike, but underneath that opinions appear to be polarising. While the 66% of people supporting the strike is the same percentage as last month, within that the proportion saying “strongly support” has risen, those saying “tend to support” has fallen. Among the other third of the population the proportion of people saying they don’t know or have no feelings either way has fallen (from 19% to 12%), the proportion of people saying they oppose the strike has risen (from 15% to 22%).

Asked who is to blame for the dispute continuing this long 64% blamed the government, 13% the doctors and 18% both equally. Full details of the poll is here, and my write-up of the January figures is here.

As well as the quality polling by MORI, there is also sadly a new outbreak of newspaper reporting of voodoo polls on the issue. The Indy and Mirror are reporting a “poll” apparently showing 90% of junior doctors would resign if the contract was imposed. We’ve already had one outbreak of voodoo polling in this dispute, that one claiming 70% of junior doctors would resign… which turned out to be a “survey” conducted among the members of a Facebook group campaigning against the contract. This time the two papers reporting it are very tight lipped about where it was conducted, so I don’t know if it’s the same forum – the only clue is that it was organised by Dr Ben White, who is campaigning against the contract. From the Mirror’s write up Dr White did at least ensure respondents were real doctors, but false or multiple responses is far from the only thing that stops voodoo polls being meaningful, it’s also where you do it, whether you recruit respondents in a manner that gets a representative and unbiased survey. You would, for example, get a very different result on foxhunting in a survey conducted on a Countryside Alliance Forum or a League Against Cruel Sports Forum, even if you took measures to ensure all participants were genuine countryside dwellers.

Questions along the lines of “If thing you oppose happens, will you do x?” are extremely dicey anyway – people pick the answers that will best express their anger and opposition (Dr White himself seems to take that perfectly sensible angle in his quote to the Mirror, presenting his findings as an expression of anger). To quote what I wrote last time…

From a respondent’s point of view, if you are filling in a survey about something you oppose, you’re are likely to give the answers that most effectively express your opposition. Faced with a question like this, it’s far more effective to say you might leave your job if your contract is changed than say you’d meekly accept it and carry on as usual.

We see this again and again in polls seeking to measure the impact of policies. For example, before tuition fees were increased there were lots of polls claiming to show how many young people would be put off going to university by increased fees (such as here and here). After the rise, they miraculously continued to apply anyway. Nobody wants to tell a pollster that they would just swallow the thing they oppose.

I don’t doubt that many or most junior doctors are unhappy with the new contract […but…] you shouldn’t necessarily believe people telling pollsters about the awful consequences that will happen if something they don’t like happens. It’s a lot easier to make a threat to a pollster that you’ll resign from your job than it is to actually do it.

And that’s before we get to fact that “considering resigning” is very different to “resigning”. I consider taking up jogging every January, yet the people of Dartford are yet to be subjected to even the briefest glimpse of me in jogging gear.)


112 Responses to “Latest junior doctors polling and an update from voodoo corner”

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  1. Is this what is meant by a stunned silence?

  2. Is there any polling on voodoo polling?

  3. “Questions along the lines of “If thing you oppose happens, will you do x?”…”

    ———

    Well, it possibly depends on the question. I mean, if they asked “If they put up VAT on storage, will you pay more for storage?” well, yeah, I probably will.

  4. Voodoo, or, Hoodoo, I’ll go with Hoodoo, more appropriate in my opinion, since Voodoo is a religion and Hoodoo is magic. ( I’ll get me coat ) .

  5. Continuing on from previous thread on Scottish Election

    Has anyone looked at the age breakdown of support for the various parties with the latest Ipsos-Mori poll in the list polling?

    Not surprisingly Green are ahead of the Conservatives and Lib Dems among 16-34 year olds, and the Greens are ahead of the Lib Dems among 35 to 54 years olds.

    The Conservatives are ahead of Labour among 35-54 year olds, part time workers and not surprisingly among owner occupiers.

    Are 16 year olds going to be allowed to vote?

    Remembering that the turnout in Scotland was 71.1% in the 2015 UKGE, will that turnout hold up in 2016?

    I also see that while SNP and Green vote is evenly spread across urban and rural areas 49%/48% and 6/6%, that the Liberal Democrats are tied with the Greens in urban areas – but chasing the Conservatives for second place in the rural areas.

    Further while Labour are clearly second in urban areas with 23% support, the SNP has a 26 point lead – whereas Labour are running a poor 4th in rural areas with 12%

    Thus in the rural seats the Conservatives and Liberals are going to be fighting in out for who challenges the SNP, but the leads run to 30% over Conservatives, 33% over LD and 36% over Labour.

    Would be interesting to see some regional polling.

  6. Andy Shadrack

    Yes. 16 & 17 year olds have been enfranchised for Scottish GEs and local elections.

    Prof Curtice has his useful (and neutral) commentary on the Ipsos-MORI poll here –

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2016/02/three-key-pointers-from-ipsos-mori/

  7. Worth noting that the Ipsos-MORI poll on the English junior doctors’ strike is a proper Full English poll.

    That’s appropriate for an English only issue – and a strategy that other pollsters would do well to follow.

  8. @Carfrew
    “if they asked “If they put up VAT on storage, will you pay more for storage?” well, yeah, I probably will.”
    Or you might throw some stuff away, or sell it, with good intentions like AW’s jogging. But then my wife is demanding I clear out the loft before I’m too old to climb the steps, so it’s on my mind.

  9. @ Andy Shadrack

    Are 16 year olds going to be allowed to vote?

    Yup.

    Remembering that the turnout in Scotland was 71.1% in the 2015 UKGE, will that turnout hold up in 2016?

    GE2010 Scotland – 63.8%
    Holyrood 2011 – 50.4%

    Holyrood turnout was 79% of Westminster.

    GE2015 Scotland – 71.1%

    So 2016 estimate 56.1% as a reasonable guess.

  10. @AC – just in case you missed it

    @Allan Christie

    – “And consider this..£1 in every £6 in Uk pensions is tied up to BP.”

    I think this is complete [email protected]

    From http://www.theactuary.com/news/2014/02/uk-pension-fund-value-passes-japan-to-become-worlds-second-biggest-market/

    UK pension fund assets were worth £2tr a year ago, and with the stock market falling by 20% since then – lets call it 30% and assume all pension assets are share equities to be really pessimistic – that would give us a total current value of ~ £1.4tr.

    Today’s Wikinvest market capitalization for BP is $85B, so lets assume that’s £59B at today’s exchange rate. This means that even if UK pension funds owned 100% of BP, it would still represent just 4.2% of total UK pension assets, or £1 in every £24.

    #getyourfactsright

  11. @Dave

    “Or you might throw some stuff away…”

    ————

    Ah, well, we have already been down that road. Colin in particular was very keen to divest me of my worldly goods. Even my Gibson semi-acoustic!! I mean, one can go too far you know…

  12. Forgive me I this has already been highlighted.

    The Electoral Reform Society are inviting respondents to identify ‘rotten boroughs’, where people ( I very nearly typed ‘peeps’ ) feel disenfranchised.

    http://action.electoral-reform.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1754&ea.campaign.id=21160

  13. There is a side bar on this page entitled “Latest voting intention”. The most recent poll result showing on it is 17 January and that makes it over 3 weeks old.

    For a site called UK polling report that really isn’t good enough. Sorry to break in on an unrelated thread but I can’t see anywhere else to comment on this.

  14. Nicholas,

    Fair comment, but Anthony does report on every single poll in his actual blog, so if you want to review recent poll figures you can do so without much stress.

    The sidebar is just something he updates from time to time to give a ready guide. It’s not a core function of this site. He’s a busy man.

  15. @Ken

    “Voodoo, or, Hoodoo”

    or things we ain’t even tried!

    I’ll join you on the other side…

  16. @Ken

    “Voodoo, or, Hoodoo”

    C: You remind me of the man
    R: what man
    C: the man with the power
    R: what power
    C: the power of hoodoo
    R: Hoodoo?
    C: you do
    R: what?
    C: remind me of the man

  17. “If I was President
    And the Congress call my name
    I’d say “Hoodoo,
    Hoodoo
    you think you’re fooling?”
    I’ve got the Presidential Seal
    I’m up on the Presidential Podium…”

  18. I tend to see Anthony’s updates as nice little treats one gets every now and then, rather than as summat one expects and takes fore granted. Anyway, dunno how one can worry about summat like that on the day they announced the discovery of gravitational waves…

  19. @Anthony – Thanks – Great piece as usual although I must confess I can’t quite resist trying to imagine what the good folks of Dartford are missing out on….

  20. Good afternoon all from a mild grey central London.

    Voodoo polls!! I don’t like voodoo polls. They are a bit like polling people in an independent Scotland and asking them if they intend to vote UKIP.

  21. ALEC

    You can stop chasing me all over the place. Did you send your post to my granny’s house? She just phoned me at work and read out your comment from a postcard signed “Alec” ;-)

    Yes okay I got a my facts a little mixed up and should had written BP’s dividend payouts for £1 in every £6 worth of income received by UK pension funds”

    But even that is now out of date..

    “BP’s dividend payouts no longer account for £1 in every £6 worth of income received by UK pension funds, as was the case at the time of the Gulf of Mexico spill”

    “But they still account for about £1 in every £13 received – making the income it generates vital for many across Britain, not to mention more than a quarter of a million private investors who own the shares directly”
    ……..

    Okay?

  22. I joined the Conservative party because of the special treatment given to the Doctors by the Labour party in the late 1960’s by Harold Wilson’s government.
    I worked for the General Practice Finance Corporation lending money to doctors at below economic bank rates during the pay freeze that the Labour government was imposing on the rest of work force.
    The conservatives are standing up against the vested interests of the BMA the doctor’s Union.
    I have a growth on my leg, I have been seen so far by three junior doctors since January and have been told I will have an operation in the next month.
    My son in law in Australia had his growth removed the same day by his GP in Australia . I will have had at least four appointments.
    Is it any wonder it costs so much for our NHS.
    In Australia you pay for insurance and receive money back from from the government for certain procedures.
    The contract with doctors needs to be modernised urgently in the interests of patients.

  23. It made me smile when Heidi Alexander told Hunt that Junior Doctors would sod off to Australia because of the new contract.

    I hoped -in vain-for him to invite her to support a Medicare , part Private , part Self Insured system here too-so we could stop them going.

  24. It still fascinates me that the shareholder dictates job contracts in the NHS against the will of the general managers (and now apparently even lying about the managerial support). It simply would not happen in the private sector.

    More and more it looks like as if the government is trying to make it to be the new version of the miners’ strike (or Reagan’s traffic controller perhaps). It will be more difficult this time to use illegal methods.

    We will see how the public opinion changes, but it seems pretty solid.

  25. @ Stat Geek

    You might find this study undertaken by BC Stats into voting behaviour interesting:

    http://142.165.149.53/docs/stats/Motivations-and-barriers-2010.pdf

    A summary of findings determined that only 42% of the registered British Columbia electorate consistently vote in elections.

    That 23.7% having voted in the 2005 election chose to sit out the 2009 and that 21.2% consistently, while registered, do not vote at all.

    In 2009 13.1% voted in that election only, which when added to the 42% who consistently voted gave an estimated turnout of 55.1%.

    From this I surmise that in the 2016 Scottish election SNP, SCP and SGP voters are going to be highly motivated to vote, but that SL and SLD are going to be less motivated to vote.

    In other words turnout is a mechanism based on how well the Party concerned can motivate it’s base and weaker supporters to turn out to vote.

    And as in the case of the 2015 Canadian federal election where turnout in British Columbia had dropped to 60.1% and 60.4% in 2008 and 2011, respectively, but rose to 70.4% in October, 2015 there is always the possibility of a return of totally unattached/swing voters.

    So I think that your turnout projection is a tad low given that I suspect that 16 and 17 years olds are going to be highly motivated to vote, from a, if nothing else, novelty point of view, and that, that reality, is going to have a knock on effect for 18 to 24 year olds as well.

    And that is going to have a positive impact on SNP and SGP support at the ballot box.

    I wonder if the pollsters are factoring all this in to their methodologies?

  26. Andy Shadrack

    Interesting figures.

    It’s hard to predict what will happen with turnout in May for Holyrood.

    In the recent TNS poll, as usual, certainty to vote increases with age and being in SEG A/B – both crossbreaks which favour SCon, and this tends to be confirmed by the tables showing those CTV as against all those 16+.

    CTV as % of all committed voters

    Con 87% : SNP 76% : Oth 75% : LD 73% : Lab 72%

    All those figures are higher than the UKGE turnout in Scotland of 71%.

    However, the electoral rolls are (a bit) different for Holyrood and Westminster elections and, as for Wales, we really have little idea of which people vote in one but not the other GE.

    To the extent that the choice of Government for Scotland is widely seen as a “done deal” while the pundits quoting the UK GE polls suggested a cliff hanger, by how much will that affect turnout?

  27. Talking of Wales –

    Roger Scully has this teasing tweet.

    I will make one prediction from the results of our new Welsh Political Barometer poll: it’s going to upset quite a lot of people.

    Results being released from Monday next week onwards.

  28. It seems everyone likes to use their personal experiences as evidence of what must, or must not, be done to the entire NHS so I will add my own experiences to the anecdata. I and my family have used private healthcare, and we’ve used the NHS.

    Our experience with private healthcare really was not a good one, apart from superficialities like better decor, which were outweighed by the dubious additional tests being carried out that really did just seem like an excuse to extract more money.

    My wife, whose father is a surgeon in her country of origin, and who worked in his hospital for a time – a fully private hospital – is extremely impressed by the NHS. We are both in agreement that we would now only resort to private healthcare for specific situations where the NHS has failed us. So far, however, that hasn’t happened. Have we just been lucky?

    When I’ve had occasion to visit A&E, I’ve always been seen to pretty promptly. I had to have an operation in 2014. It wasn’t a life-threatening condition yet I was in the theatre four weeks after being diagnosed and had my own room for an overnight stay to recover. To me, this just doesn’t seem like terrible service. When I hear people complain so much about the NHS, they sound like stories from a darker parallel universe. Am I just too easily satisfied? Should I mutter and grumble more about having to wait four weeks for an operation?

    However, I accept that some people may have had a less sanguine experience. But to conclude from this that the fault lies with junior doctors and their current contract is to draw a conclusion that does not follow from the premise.

    Jeremy Hunt’s conclusion that changing doctor’s contracts to provide extra weekend cover at no additional cost to the exchequer is also a flawed analysis, when the reasons for the weekend mortality effect are complex and may have more to do with the mix of patients admitted at the weekend than the service provision. For example, one recent study found that the average age of patients admitted at weekends is 68 rather than 65 during weekdays though I can’t recall if that was a national survey or one particular healthcare trust.

    The thing I find really interesting, though, is the reticence of many politicians of a certain persuasion to accept the need for action on, say, climate change, where there is a body of established research on its causes dating back to the early 19th century that they willfully reject; yet along comes Jeremy Hunt with his own unscientific half-baked analysis of some data on weekend admission mortality rates, an effect that there is genuinely no academic consensus on, and decides he’s got the solution. And they get behind him.

  29. LurkingGherkin

    As you point out ” the reasons for the weekend mortality effect are complex”, which makes it all the more surprising that the UK Government (wearing its English hat) has appeared to be so uncompromising in enforcing its solution to increased weekend hospital mortality – and doing it via system change at that.

    I have no problem with parties adopting ideological stances, and creating the policies based on those. If people are aware of the debate, and vote for those policies, then fine (just as long as I don’t get stuck with living under abhorrent ideologies! :-) )

    But the “7 day NHS” thing seems to be managerial politics, rather than ideological – in which case you would expect to see the causal links investigated, remedied, and the political benefit to government to result from improved service delivery.

    It seems quite possible, therefore, that the “7 day NHS” as being implemented in England is not the whole story. In the same way, I doubt that the reasons for resistance given by the BMA is the whole story either!

    There is an alternative approach to the investigations that demonstrated that higher weekend mortality was a real phenomenon in a number of countries (with very different medical care systems).

    Here, for example, the emphasis has been on identifying particular specialisms which might benefit from (and don’t already have) 7 day working. Providing solutions through workforce planning and seeking solutions in agreement with NHS staff is the core of the strategy.

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/NHS-Workforce/Policy/SevenDayServicesPositionPaper

    It’s not a high profile response, but it does seem to be delivering some improvement – though research suggested it was never as much of a problem here than it seemed to be in some other hospital systems.

    Sensible governments also shouldn’t give the impression of “over-promising” what they can or would do. I doubt that the response in Scotland to the issue would have been any different if the parties in the former Scottish Executive had still been in power. They would still have made a statement similar to this –

    7 Day Services is not the same as the kind of ‘supermarket, 24 hour a day culture’ some have described. Patients simply would not want, or find it convenient to receive a routine operation in the early hours of the morning.

  30. @ OldNat

    It is purely ideological and not managerial. The death rate during weekends is higher (and has been since the 1970s when the first publications emerged in the US) in all the developed countries.

    What is managerial is summarised excellently in this (peer reviewed) article:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1299350/

  31. Laszlo

    What a wonderful link! Thanks :-)

    But what is the ideological drive behind Hunt’s actions?

    Remember, up here, we only tend to get the UK Government version (via BBC et al) of what happens in southern climes – and the SCons seem unwilling to describe what their soul-mates at Westminster are up to (if they know).

  32. My last job before recent retirement was as a senior analyst in the NHS. All the analysts knew that weekend admissions had a higher mortality rate, and from time to time reports were submitted to management of local NHS organisations or NHS England (where I ended up) to prove it. Nothing ever seemed to happen as a result. This covered a period of the last ten years, and I got the impression that it was a fact that had been known for many years.

    That the government is attempting to tackle this anomaly is laudable. Though junior doctors are the first to put up a fight, I think that the main problem is the lack of consultants available at the weekends, which I assume is the real final target. I think all the Lancelot Spratts will put up an even bigger fight to preserve their weekend golf.

  33. @ OldNat

    I’m glad that you liked it. There are odd gems like this in the literature on the health service (and management).

    I don’t think it was originally an ideological drive – it became one. It is actually meaningful to sort out the contractual madness (and the exploitation of junior doctors – this is true for the UK, rather than just England).

    However, it has become a question of power (very much like the miners …), and hence the stubbornness. One of the interesting aspects of it is the bad tactic of the government as they drove themselves to a position where they cannot lose. If they lose here, they will lose everywhere (or so they think). This is why there is a split between managers and the government on some questions.

    I don’t know if the government can win. If they do, it is the destruction of the BMA, and then probably the decentralisation of the negotiations follow and probably a lot of disruption (probably with unintended consequences to the patients) and the collapse of the professional norms. For all these reasons the BMA cannot give in.

    The cuts in NHS are massive in all the four constituents of the U.K. by the way (they started it with NICE).

  34. Laszlo
    This from the NHS Confederation site

    http://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/key-statistics-on-the-nhs

    “NHS net expenditure (resource plus capital, minus depreciation) has increased from £64.173 billion in 2003/04 to £113.300bn in 2014/15. Planned expenditure for 2015/16 is £116.574bn. ”

    How does this equate to massive cuts?

  35. @ Pete B

    It is clear that weekend death rates are higher, and as I mentioned earlier, it has been a common knowledge for a long time in all the developed economies.

    The question is the causality, and nobody has come up with one (apart from the one Hunt came up and was ridiculed (rightly) for). I don’t know if it is because of the consultants (I doubt it).

    In any case, while the weekend deathrate is statistically significant, in terms of magnitude (again statistics) quite negligible.

    This is the problem with evidence-based (rather than thought-based in combination) government intervention.

  36. Pete B

    Interesting.

    Did you do a breakdown of which medical specialisms were most affected by the lack of consultant availability at weekends?

    Were there clinical differences (as has been suggested) between those entering hospital by emergency admissions on different days of the week?

    Every system (and its staff) has an inevitable resistance to changing their practices, and it usually needs quite specific indicators of whether there is a system wide problem, or if a more targeted approach would be more worthwhile.

    Presumably the actions by all governments to reduce a systemic problem [1] are “laudable”, even though they take different approaches to solving it may differ – those that are more successful can then be adopted by similar organisations, unless they have an ideological objection to them.

    [1] Sometimes an anomaly can have no great significance (though I’m not suggesting that is the case here). For example, if admissions could be rearranged to “force” higher risk patients to appear midweek, the number of deaths might be more equally spread, though not reduced at all. The anomaly, however, would have disappeared.

  37. @ Pete B

    How much variable cost has been taken out (wages mainly)?

    The trick with the NHS is the mothballing, the dealing with peaks and lows, and alike which make the aggregate figures completely meaningless.

    Fixed costs can be managed only to a limited extent and they are growing (you don’t want to close down a unit and advertise in a paper), so you compensate it through cutting variable costs (NICE is now running at staffing level barely fit for purpose).

  38. Laszlo
    If the weekend death rate is statistically significant, isn’t it better to try to do something about it, than just to say ‘Oh, well, other countries see the same effect too’?

    I note that you didn’t reply to my question about the ‘massive cuts’ you referred to.

  39. @ Pete B

    I did, but there were crossed postings.

    I’m not too bothered by statistical significance. Take the following: one diet guarantees you a loss of 2 pounds healthily (statistically significant). The other gives you a 70% chance (statistically not significant) that you will lose 15 pounds healthily. You need to lose 30 pounds urgently. Which one do you choose? So what is the magnitude of the government intervention on weekend death?

    We don’t have a single word about it.

    I can tell you that in on NHS trust it is likely to be nothing.

  40. Laszlo

    “However, it has become a question of power”.

    That sounds much more likely than ideology – especially from a Government with a small majority (though facing a weak Opposition and divided opposition, so its position is stronger than would appear).

    When a Government makes a “power play”, however, they really need to be sure they have their own, and possible swing, voters onside.

  41. ON
    “Did you do a breakdown of which medical specialisms were most affected by the lack of consultant availability at weekends?
    Were there clinical differences (as has been suggested) between those entering hospital by emergency admissions on different days of the week?”

    To your first question – yes, but I can’t remember the details, and obviously haven’t kept copies of confidential information. To your second question – I don’t recall doing or seeing such an analysis, but I’d be surprised if there was much beyond random variation apart from the difference between weekday and weekend emergency admissions.

    You have to be very careful about statistics. For instance, many emergency admissions after midnight on Friday would be drunks and fight victims. The NHS doesn’t categorise patients in that way though, and they would be coded as things like ‘trauma to the face’.

    However, whatever the technicalities, I stick to the point that if there are more deaths per thousand admissions at the weekend (which there are), something needs to be done about it. The government’s approach might be right or wrong (and I didn’t vote for them), but at least they are TRYING to do something about it.

  42. Pete B

    Lazlo’s skepticism of the meaningfulness of the aggregate spending figures aside; if we accept those figures at face value, then whilst in absolute terms NHS net expenditure may have risen, and thus technically it may not be accurate to describe the situation as one of ‘massive cuts’, it is disingenuous to suggest that net rises in expenditure necessarily equate to (a) an increase in provision of healthcare services in real terms or (b) a maintainance of service levels in the face of increased demands due to an ageing population.

    https://fullfact.org/health/nhs-spending-rising-or-falling/

    There is also the matter of the increasing internal deficit within the NHS.

    “If the weekend death rate is statistically significant, isn’t it better to try to do something about it”

    Yes – once you’ve confidently identified the cause. As for hasty interventions simply based on the desire to be *seen* to be doing something, I would refer you to the excellent paper that Lazlo linked earlier which comments on those kinds of Dilbertisms in fine style.

  43. LG
    “it is disingenuous to suggest that net rises in expenditure necessarily equate to (a) an increase in provision of healthcare services in real terms or (b) a maintainance of service levels in the face of increased demands due to an ageing population.”

    I don’t think I did suggest that, I simply argued that ‘massive cuts’ was not true.

    I looked at Laszlo’s link and got as far as ‘We did not find anything worth reading, other than Dilbert, so we fantasized. ‘

    I agree that the NHS has been reorganised too many times (by all governments). I think in my ten years I worked for at least 4 different organisations whilst doing the same job. After much thought I have come to the conclusion that the NHS has never really ‘worked’, and that is because of the BMA. For instance, I came across this interesting link

    http://www.sochealth.co.uk/national-health-service/the-sma-and-the-foundation-of-the-national-health-service-dr-leslie-hilliard-1980/bma-opposition-to-the-nhs-1948/

    Anecdotally, I heard a story that when Bevan approached the BMA about his vision for the NHS, their top chap said something like “Good luck doing that without doctors!”. And so GPs in particular have never actually been employed by the NHS, but are independent businesses. While that is the case, a nationalised health service will always be almost impossible to organise properly.

  44. Pete B

    “You have to be very careful about statistics.”

    I think that’s something on which all of us can agree!

  45. Just saw this Grauniad story on how English hospitals could ignore Hunt and move to local bargaining.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/12/hospitals-jeremy-hunt-junior-doctors-contract?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Could the English Tories have been incredibly clever and manipulated this outcome?

    Probably not – but it makes a nice conspiracy theory. :-)

  46. @Oldnat

    I believe that the facility to negotiate locally, only applies to Foundation hospitals, which will create a two tier system.

  47. I suspect the weekend mortality rates are a bit of a red herring. This is more about using the resources of hospitals more efficiently and therefore saving money. In theory.

    I have no idea whether Hunt will achieve any real savings with these changes, but I am pretty sure this is the main motivation.

  48. Unlike most of the arrogant doctors on display Hunt at least can feign compassion.

  49. Good morning all from a damp cold Itchen Abbas.

    Now that many junior doctors have threatened to quit the NHS and move abroad Hunt should pick up the phone to his Eastern European counterparts (not the Romanians, they will pinch the copper from patients artificial legs) and start a recruitment drive to bring medical trained people over to England.

    It’s something that really bugs me and that’s how the public sector think they can hold the whole country to ransom and somehow think they are indispensable.

    Hunt! pick up that phone to the Polish ambassador and tell him we need docs asap…..that will soon sort the crises out.

  50. I know this is off topic but I find this rather disturbing.

    “There are reports that US president Barack Obama is preparing to make a “big, public reach out” once the referendum campaign begins in an effort to convince Britons to vote to stay in the EU”
    …………

    It’s not the first time this unpopular president has interfered with a domestic referendum in the UK but Cameron will be happy to sit back and yet again let Obama do his bidding.

    The No side should endorse Trump and make it loud and clear to Obama that his views have nothing to do with UK domestic issues.

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