A petition filed for a parliamentary debate on a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt, the British secretary of state for health, has reached the minimum signatures required in less than 24 hours. The petition was filed by Dr. Ash Sadighi, who believes Hunt has “alienated the NHS workforce.”
Hunt recently revealed his plans to alter the contracts of National Health Service consultants and staff. What fueled the outrage was the controversial statement, in which Hunt claimed that a “Monday to Friday” culture exists among the NHS staff, which is damaging the health of the patients.
Hunt further imposed a seven-day working schedule for consultants, saying it will help save patients' lives. The health secretary has planned to insert all the changes in the contracts of the NHS staff.
The harsh conditions and terms put forward by Hunt angered healthcare professionals as they decided to write open letters for the health secretary. Doctors shared photos of themselves and their colleagues working over the weekend using the hashtag #ImInWorkJeremy. A number of diary entries showing the everyday schedule of the doctors were posted online as well.
“At the end of my 3 night stint, just when I was at my lowest ebb, a patient got really sick. You try managing that after you’ve been up all night and then tell me the NHS isn’t 24 hours, 7 days a week and 365 days a year,” wrote Janis Burns, a junior doctor, in a Facebook post.
Dr. Simon Walsh, a consultant at a hospital in London, declared the words Hunt used harsh and offensive. Walsh further said the claim that doctors do not work on the weekends is completely untrue. “I, like many other consultants, do work weekends, which is time away from our family and children.”