Hurrah. A group of NHS staff and patients announced today that they have instructed Bindman’s LLP solicitors to investigate judicial review proceedings. Excellent news. So what is it all about and how can we the public help?
What is a judicial review?
It is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. So in this case the Health Secretary would have to provide evidence to justify the decisions he has taken and show that they are reasonable, viable and legal. Through this process, the group will uncover whether the government has considered the full implications of the dangers of this contract imposition, and whether the decision was legally made. I think we all know the answer to that one but unfortunately we have to go through the process to get it. 55,000 NHS staff wrong or a few MPs? Hmmmm.
This will be a far-reaching judicial review centering on the detrimental impact of the proposed new contract on patient safety and stability of the NHS. While the BMA has already announced a legal action last week on grounds that the Health Secretary has failed to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment, the group of NHS staff and patients’ challenge is significantly broader in scope, examining many other aspects of the decision to impose a contract on junior doctors with issues of patient safety at its heart.
Dr Ben White said “Forget the lies and propaganda. The imposition of the junior doctors’ contract affects all NHS service users. Staff know that the lack of workforce planning, lack of cost modelling, plus rota and staffing issues, create a perfect storm where patient safety will inevitably be compromised. We must challenge this contract in the High Court. A judicial review would consider all relevant factors and hold the government accountable for decisions it has made. Ultimately, this is about public safety.”
The truth and lies behind the junior doctors’ strike
Dr Jacky Davis wrote a guest post a couple of weeks ago and in it describes the facts about the change in contracts and provides the information you need to know if you are in any doubt that what Hunt is imposing is safe for you and your family.
Dr Francesca Silman said “It is clear the government has not considered the implications of their plans- financially, practically or in terms of impact on patient safety. In a recent Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee review, it was suggested that the senior department of health chief, Charlie Massey, was ‘flying blind’ on this issue. We cannot tolerate politics placed before patient welfare.”
In the same Public Accounts Committee review, David Mowat, MP, said “I am surprised that you can put this [7 day NHS] policy in place without having some idea of the implication for staffing levels at the headcount planning level … or, indeed, for cost and budget.”
Why is this review important?
Dr Phil Hammond, Vice-President of the Patient’s Association said “No one can say whether the new contract will be better or worse for patients than the existing one. Medicine is littered with examples where expert and political opinion has trumped proper scientific evaluation, at huge cost to patients. Please support this judicial review” He has already said “Test the science”, Hunt’s way and the doctor’s proposal, in different hospitals and see what works and he said a lot more sense too:
What can we do to help right now?
The group, backed by prominent medical staff and patient safety advocates are crowd funding through Crowd Justice. At the point of writing this the initial £25,000 needed to start investigation proceedings had been raised. It is unknown just how much needs to be raised in total as it will depend on how strongly the issues are disputed, whether other parties decide to support the challenges, how lengthy and complex the research will be, how many hearings will be needed and how long the final hearing is.
So please contribute to the fund. The page and more information can be found here: Crowd Justice donation page: Crowdjustice.
What else can we do to help?
If you want to help then there ARE things you can do and some of them will only take a few seconds of your time and all will help raise the profile of all the issues.
- Please read about what is happening to the NHS and its staff and think about joining a campaign or a local patients group.
- Practical action could also include writing to your MP and to national and local papers to support the juniors, turning up at the picket lines on days of action
- The continued use of social media to dispel the lies put out by the government
- Share this post with friends and family
- Join the campaign – Keep Our NHS public
- Read up on the privatisation of the NHS at NHS for sale
- Follow and rt @keepnhspublic
- Sign the petition Consider a vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary
- Sign the petition Jeremy Hunt to resume meaningful contract negotiations with the BMA
- Sign the petition Labour Party and TUC – call a national demonstration to support the junior doctors!
- Sign the letter asking asks David Cameron to show the BMA his plan for extended seven-day services here.
- Join the thunderclap here takes place 6.30pm 14th March 2016
Together we can save our NHS, please help. If you want the NHS to fight for you and your loved one’s health in the future you have to fight for it now, because otherwise it may not be there just when you need it.