Brighton accident and emergency (A&E) consultant Rob Galloway has sent an excoriating open letter “congratulating” Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on his High Court victory over junior doctors.
Dr Galloway described it as a “hollow political victory” and hoped that Mr Hunt would “realise the consequence of your incompetent mishandling of the junior doctor contract debacle”.
Campaign group Sussex Defend the NHS said that it was “proud to have a member as professional, dedicated and committed to his patients as Rob Galloway from our A&E Department” at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
The group said: “We salute Rob and all the clinical, medical, administrative and all other health professional and support staff at our hospital who work so hard in such increasingly dreadful circumstances and conditions of work brought about by Jeremy Hunt and this government.”
The letter said:
“Dear Mr Hunt,
“I am writing (for a last time) to send you my congratulations on the result of the court case in the junior doctor dispute. I doubt you will write back (you never do) but I just want you to know my thoughts.
“You have ‘won’ the case along with the threat of industrial strike being put on the back burner. You must be smugly claiming victory. Congratulations.
“But please remember that it may be a hollow political victory. It’s not a victory for the NHS or its patients.
“Victory is not creating a disgruntled and depleted work force.
“Victory is not the loss of great skills from our NHS.
“Victory is not years of wasted time attacking staff instead of collaborative working with them to improve care.
“Your victory is not mine or my patients’ interpretation of victory.
“You have come out of this shambles as the most disrespected and discredited secretary of state in the history of the NHS and it is time you resigned.
“The toxicity that you have created means that sensible discussions about how to improve care will be so much harder to succeed with you at the helm.
“But my anger and upset has been multiplied with your ‘victory’ in court. You shockingly claimed that you were never trying to impose a contract on the junior doctors and therefore you were not breaching any powers that you didn’t have.
“If that’s the case then you have lied, lied and lied again – to Parliament, to the press, to the voters, to our patients and all of those of us who work in the NHS.
“You repeatedly said you were going to impose this new contract and are now saying you never said that – or meant to say it.
“Your own lawyers even said in court that ‘the secretary of state shouldn’t be accountable for statements made in the rough and tumble, hurly burly of parliamentary debates’ – ie, you could lie to Parliament.
“If I had acted with the same level of honesty as you, I would be facing immediate suspension. But you can apparently lie to Parliament because of parliamentary privilege. A bullshit and terrible law that means politicians can get away with not telling the truth. Disgraceful.
“Soon you will go on to your million-pound consultancy role for private medical companies on how they can exploit the privatisation that your government has moved forward.
“Meanwhile, I and thousands of others who are staying in the NHS (because we believe in its founding principles), will try to overcome the damage you have done.
“We will be supporting our juniors and our patients and trying to create conditions of work which are supportive and educational as well as providing great care for our patients. But this will be despite you and not thanks to you.
“You may be celebrating tonight but tomorrow hopefully you will start to realise the consequence of your incompetent mishandling of the junior doctor contract debacle.
“Meanwhile, tomorrow I and my colleagues will carry on the work of looking after our patients, supporting our staff and trying to overcome the damage you have done and the problems you have created. That to me is not a victory.
“Rob Galloway, A&E consultant.”