This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Thawing the NHS's Winter of Discontent

Written by: | Published:

Nurses protest cuts to bursaries Nurses protest cuts to bursaries

Is the NHS experiencing its own moment of 1970s-style union militancy? This week we’ve seen junior doctors set down scalpels, and nurses march on Downing Street to protest against scrapping bursaries.

Is this history repeating itself? Tory governments have toughed out industrial disputes before, but this feels different. For starters, the junior doctor’s strike attracted huge public support. According to Ipsos Mori, 66% of the public backed them, to 16% against.

True, the smiling, young medics were a stark contrast to the grim yeomanry of, say, an RMT picket, but it’s deeper than that. There’s the British love for the NHS, but also the realisation that the RCN and the BMA are not Bolshie institutions. If the inner Bob Crow of these folks has been awakened, something is going seriously awry.

When governments were facing down workers on the wrong side of industrial history 30 or so years ago, they could win a war of attrition. But today’s battles are being fought with people with more cards to play. The most valuable asset of the NHS is its workforce, with its highly transferable skills. Striking or marching is doing the government a noisy favour. The worst thing they could do is silently walk away.

It’s time to go back to the negotiating table and give the piggy bank another shake. Saving pennies today could leave the NHS without the people it vitally needs for a better tomorrow.

Mike Shallcross, acting editor, Independent Nurse

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.