The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Modernising Medical Careers
Posted Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 10:35

You never really know how you have performed when you speak in the House of Commons. Everyone always comes up to you and says “well done”, “great speech” etc, but actually, I don’t make my speeches for those on the inside. I make my speeches for those who don’t have the opportunity to stand where I do. Take yesterday and the debate regarding modernising medical careers and the horrendous, awful, position in which junior doctors now find themselves.


I tried to imagine:  if I were a junior doctor and could sit on this bench, what would I want to say? As an MP, I know I am privileged to be here, and I could feel the frustration of all the doctors sat in the public gallery, wishing they could come onto our side and say it as it is.


Up to 10,000 junior doctors will find themselves without a job from the 1st  August this year. The situation is so bad that the Department of Health is in discussion with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) trying to get placements for doctors abroad!


The problem has arisen because two cohorts of doctors have come onto the training/job market in one year due to the basic training programme being reduced by a year.


It’s like reducing the school leaving age to 17 and then in the year the change takes effect having two cohorts of students fighting over the same number of university places.


The worst thing about this fiasco is that absolutely no planning or preparation for this ‘train crash in slow motion’ was put into place.


I talked about how doctors have mortgages, and some don’t even know if they will be able to make the August payment. Married doctors have children in schools and whereas they realise they can’t always stay in one hospital, their expectations can hardly be described as unrealistic wishing to stay in one region.


They have trained for up to seven years, and some are looking for casual work as back up in the Summer.


To be a doctor isn’t something you fancy doing in your thirties, that’s left to MPs. It’s something you plan from childhood, because if you don’t get three A’s at A level you aren’t really going to make it. I don’t know many MPs who have three A’s at A level.


Being a doctor is a passion, a vocation, it’s a commitment and it’s something you enter to help benefit mankind, you become a doctor because you have a heart.


I once knew a doctor well. I remember a night he came home from his Senior House Officer job on Casualty, sat in the chair and began to cry. A thee year old little boy had come into the unit in the middle of a severe asthma attack and went into shock. Before he could get a line up the child had gone into peripheral shut down. It was all horrifically fast and over in minutes. The little boy died, and the parents had to be told that their little boy, their only child was gone.


How many MPs have had to do that? How many civil servants know how that feels? And yet they sit behind their desks and in meetings making decisions which disregard both the integrity and commitment of some of the most valuable people in the UK workforce.


Patricia Hewitt flaunted House of Commons protocol and as soon as she had finished speaking left the chamber. She should have stayed and listened to at least the following two speeches.


Maybe she couldn’t look the junior doctors in the face. Maybe the spontaneous round of applause which erupted from the gallery when Peter Bottomley MP made a point was more humiliating than she could bear. I have never seen that happen before. The old hands told me it has been many, many years since the entire gallery applauded.


Apparently she had adjourned to the tea room, and according to one of her own MPs was tucking into tea and buns!


I think it was more to do with being de-mob happy. She will be gone within weeks.


She will surely go down in history as the most damaging and unpopular Secretary of State in British history.


I began by saying that you never quite know how your speech has gone down. It was a relief to see it reported here. Maybe trying to put the point of view of those affected rather than making political points isn’t such a bad strategy after all.


The government are reaping the rewards of their total mismanagement. 43% of junior doctors surveyed have said that they will vote Conservative at the next election, 7% Labour, and, 15% Liberal Democrat.


Let’s hope that if we win the next general election we can learn from the government’s mistakes. I am sure David Cameron has the ability to put himself in the shoes of others and evaluate the human impact of any decision he will take when Prime Minister. As a man who has spent many a night on a hospital floor, a man who knows the importance of well trained doctors, I really do think the NHS will be safe in his hands.


Peter Flint said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Whilst on the whole I agree that this situation is appalling I wonder how many of the 43% of junior doctors surveyed that have said that they will vote Conservative at the next election worked under the previous Conservative governments. Out of the frying pan perhaps?
Matt said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Thanks Nadine, brilliant. You said it as well as any one of us could.
Delbert Wilkins said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
It hasn't been many years since the whole gallery applauded at all. The last occasion was Robin Cook's resignation speech. I know because I was in the gallery.
ben said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
great work Nadine, there are so many of us who are very grateful, thanks so much
John said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
This is one in a long line of this government's fiascos from the war in Iraq to the soon to be introduced HIP packs, none of which was ever properly thought through and has and will adversely affect many thousands of individuals and families.
melanie hampton said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Dear Nadine I am not a fan of blogging as I think that so often it decends into drivle, however I am on 18 Doughty Street tonight and my homeowrk is to pick three blogs from today to discuss. I would like to congratulate you for writing a first class piece on the plight of our junior doctors. It was thoughtful, informative and put their feelings into perspective. How refreshing to see an MP who is of such high calibre. Kind regards Melanie (currently trying to be selected!)
Dave said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
My Daily Comment: What do Nadine, Sid Vicious,Gloria Estefan,Kelly Marie,Donny Osmond, Billy Bragg, Paul Hardcastle, Siouxsie Sioux and Patty Smyth have in common?
James said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
I don't suppose Hewitt is bovvered,as long as the peoples around Leicester enjoy hospitals not in deficet, higher per patient spends and despite most of the PFIs being cut or zeroed in other areas, her area has actually had the PFI amount greatly increased.
Nat said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Fantastic work yesterday! I was deeply impressed by many speakers from both the Tories and Lib Dems, but you stood out in particular for discussing the human side of this crisis. Sadly the vote was always going to be a slightly irrelevant pantomime, but the standard of debate was first class. The medical profession owes you an enormous debt of gratitude. We need more people like you - keep up the good work!
Philip said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
I'm not going to beat around the bush. Sometimes you do talk complete and utter bollocks. So it pains me even more to say this, but you bang on the button with this. Patsy Hewitt is absolutely abysmal, and quite apart from her staggering incompetence, cannot even pretend to feign a fake sincerity in the problems of the health service. She should be put out to pasture immediately. I don't have a lot of time for John Reid, but his famous opening gambit on being made Health Secretary does at least show he had an understanding of how difficult and tricky the role is. The best I can do to lighten your load today is suggest a website that has some absolutely fantastic satire directed at Patsy Hewitt - and far more importantly a LINK TO THE PETITION TO FIRE PATSY !!!!! Go on, it worked for the 'road pricing' - it just might work to get rid of Patronising Patricia once and for all ! Please, please, please Nadine - Do more stuff like this and save getting involved in crap like being rude to the travellers - it is far beneath you.
Paul said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Perhaps Phillip should visit a site where 'travellers' have moved on from and see the havoc they cause and the cost to the taxpayer to put it right, instead of visiting the site that humours Hewitt.
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
But Nadine you were a bit naughty yourself before the old guy in charge ticked you off !
Dave said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
If you go to Channel 4 website and then on to their news page you will see what I stated in my last comment is correct, if you thought I was making it up Nadine.
John said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Channel 4 news website states that thousands of students and junior doctors personal details have been in the public domain for most of the day. What the hell is going on with this government? can't they get anything right?
Amanda said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Yours was by far the best speech of the day, because you were the only person there who obviously knew what you wee talking about. You spoke with such passion I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. We were in the gallery and we were all very quiet indeed when you spoke. Thank you. To know that you tried to do what you did from our point of view means everything to us. Mine was a "lost in space" application. I have no idea what is going to happen now. I want to stay in Manchester because that is where my fiance and I have decided to settle. That may not be possible now. We have no idea what the next few months will hold for us.Thank you.
J Moore said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Thank you so much for your understanding of what is actually happening here, and what is brewing within the medical profession. We are genuinely not selfish people worrying for our ownn jobs; I couldn't have worked so hard, such long hours plus extra hours unpaid overtime and without the breaks if I were. We are dedicated to the NHS and devastated to see it falling apart. PS. I have entered my email address on your site, and notice you don't ask for my race, sexual orientation, mobile number, home address and national insurance number. I can provide these on request, or you may simply wish to look on the internet, where they have been at least all day today. Might you be able to bring this issue up in The House too? When stating this information in the 'confidential' section of the application form I did not wish for it to be released into the public domain - is this unreasonable?
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
VERY IMPORTANT Another scandal over the MMC process has been broken by Channel 4 News. Sorry, I have not yet seen the film myself, but thought in view of your speech you should be aware of this crucial development.
Nadine said:
Responded: Wednesday, 25 April 2007
Dave, John and Anon - you are absolutley right, junior doctors details have been in the public domain - and this was only spotted by another junior doctor. I's not often you find an MP who is speechless.. I think this is a first! Listen to Westminster Week, 11am Sat. Thanks all for posting. Philip, I stand by everything I said re travellers and gypsies, but nice to know I have said something you are pleased with!
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 26 April 2007
Thank you. What a relief to hear someone focus on the issues that matter in this debate - and so often recently it has sounded as if MPs have no idea what it is they are discussing or voting on. These are people's careers and futures you are voting on - thank you for doing it with compassion. Please keep going!
The Last Word said:
Responded: Thursday, 26 April 2007
Perhaps it's the right time to suggest we transport this entire Labour government, cronies et al, abroad to do some VSO work.I was going to suggest Iraq but I think that country has been damaged enough by Blair and Co.Perhaps then to Afghanistan where they can harvest poppies to their hearts content. With regard to Iraq, I wonder if the insurgents believe no.3 to the throne is out there already serving and perhaps this explains the rise in the number of our soldiers killed this month?
Angry Student said:
Responded: Thursday, 26 April 2007
I wonder if you would mind having all your personal details put in the public domain? I cannot figure out what the public have done to deserve such government? Are you not paid enough? Is it no longer a priviledge to be at the powerhouse of the country? Are they there just for the power and the glory? God help us
Nadine said:
Responded: Thursday, 26 April 2007
Angry student, Can I just remind you that I am not the government. I am an opposition MP, and I am angry with them as you are.
Angry Student said:
Responded: Thursday, 26 April 2007
Sorry Nadine, I wasn't having a go at you. I have re-read my comments and they do appear to infer that you are in some way to blame. I was spitting feathers this morning and what was in my mind didn't turn out quite right on paper. I apologise to you and will check my words carefully next time.
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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