This afternoon, Defend our NHS York had its first public petitioning afternoon. Malcolm, Janet, Patrick and James supported by York Stop the Cuts campaigners, braved the chill wind and collected over 150 signatures in just 3 hours!! There were lots of supportive comments, but also a good dose of realism from the public – many of whom had valid concerns about the local hospital, but nevertheless, saw that things would only get worse if they were reformed.
Too often I have come across people in the hospital, and NHS employees in the street today, who are hesitant to sign their name, to be seen to be ‘causing trouble’ for fear of repercussions. NHS staff – from cleaners, nurses to PCT managers – should not be made to feel afraid to stand up for what they believe in.
This is bullying! See what David Nicholson (NHS Chief Executive) had to say about the NHS staff:
Staff who strongly dislike the changes created by the government’s white paper health reforms should go now, as they will be a “drag” on the health service during its critical transition phase
No wonder NHS staff don’t want to speak up. So if only 1 in 4 doctors support the reforms, does that mean 3 out of 4 doctors should just leave? Of course not – staff aren’t going to willingly give up their jobs. They’ll just be made to feel terrible about working in a system they don’t like and feel as though they can’t oppose. Great leadership skills there, Mr Nicholson. Who did you learn them from? Genghis Khan and the way he bullied millions into his armies? WW1 generals who ordered executions of those who ‘deserted’?
Our unions support us in speaking out, and Defend our NHS York supports NHS workers voices too – but we need to be louder and bolder. We will only let things get worse if we don’t speak up at all. NHS executives who don’t like their employees opinions should just leave, otherwise they will be a drag on vital healthcare delivery, by destroying staff morale (and taking up vital time and energy used for campaigning against the reforms, rather than constructively improving our health service).
If you’re reading this, and you’re an NHS employee and feel as though you’re can’t speak up without fear of reprisals, then send us a message anonymously. Remember, all the professional bodies have spoken against these plans already: RCN to BMA to the other Royal Colleges, as have Unite and Unison.