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Viewpoint from Shuba Ktorides 16/09/2016

Shuba Ktorides
St Andrew's Church, Roman Hill, Lowestoft

also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


Dove rightIn 1802, the poet William Wordsworth wrote a sonnet invoking his forebear, the 17th century poet Milton to stir up what he saw as a stagnating Britain to recall its historic stalwart heritage of “inward happiness”:



Thou shouldest be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
O raise us up, return to us again
And give us manners virtue, freedom, power!

Both poets felt they were seers to the nation. Today, as we stand on the precipice of the Brexit event, Wordsworth’s poem sounds like a clarion call

We keep hearing with urgency: ‘we have voted for Brexit and whether we like it or not we must now make it work’.  At such a time as this the whole nation should pull together, every individual doing his or her part in shoring up the nation.  How astonishing then that who but our junior doctors should deliver such a drastic blow to the nation so disproportionate to their dispute over work?

dove leftWhatever the merits of the arguments and counter arguments about the imposition of a contract the BMA initially accepted and junior doctors rejected, what the strike is about no longer matters. All that matters really is- are the junior doctors really prepared to take action that can cause maximum catastrophe?   At such a time as this when we should all be trying to steady the boat in Brexit waters, we do expect professionals who belong to the backbone of our health system to act responsibly and in the best interests of all peoples that they serve

On a more basic level, one has to ask: what are the criteria for selecting candidates for hugely expensive medical training so that they genuinely benefit taxpayers and become nation builders?  One has also to ask about the ethical and moral input into their training and what observance is given to the Hippocratic Oath that binds them as servants to all humanity.  A member of the public offered this one line opinion in the letters column of the Telegraph on 2 September 2016:  “SIR – Heaven help us when the junior doctors become senior doctors”.  When junior doctors/BMA can think of acting in ways so detrimental to the nation it would appear there is a fundamental flaw in the medical training they receive.  At this hour may we cry with Wordsworth: restore to this nation “manners, virtue, freedom, power!”