- Sir David Dalton advised Jeremy Hunt deal was ‘not realistically possible’
- He claims posts on social media were ‘serious impediment’ during talks
- Said #Iamthedoctorwho photos and captions pressurised union leaders
- Health Secretary imposed new contract anyway when talks broke down
A frenzied social media campaign by junior doctors destroyed any chance of reaching a deal, according to the man who led negotiations.
He claims they were made ‘more difficult’ by the fact that union leaders felt pressurised by the barrage of pictures and posts from staff using the tag #Iamthedoctorwho during crucial talks.
Sir David Dalton said comments on Facebook and Twitter (pictured) were a ‘huge impediment’ to talks, which failed to produce a deal with doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA)
Sir David claims they were made ‘more difficult’ by the fact that union leaders felt pressurised by the barrage of pictures and posts from staff using the tag #Iamthedoctorwho during crucial talks
Sir David (left) eventually advised Jeremy Hunt (right) that there was ‘no realistic chance’ of reaching a deal, and the Health Secretary imposed the new contracts anyway
As polling indicated public opposition to the strike action was growing, medics flooded the sites with images of doctors holding placards explaining exactly how they help people in their hours of need.
Dr Emily Williams is pictured holding up a piece of paper saying she ‘cares for your loved ones every day in the final hours of their lives’ in her job in palliative care.
Elsewhere, Dr Sarah Hallet said she ‘gives your baby a helping hand at the start of life’ while a doctor called George tweeted he was the doctor who ‘kept two hearts going yesterday’.
Sir Dalton eventually advised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that an agreement was ‘not realistically possible’, and he decided to impose new pay and conditions on junior doctors in England.
The decision was met with anger from medics and the BMA has vowed to fight the imposition.
Sir David, chief executive of Salford Royal NHS Trust, said social media meant compromise was ‘increasingly going to be difficult’ but was not the main reason talks failed.
Richard Bowman wrote the impassioned post on Facebook after a shift where he claimed to have cared for 100 patients in one night
He told the Times: ‘It’s been done in a goldfish bowl of people giving real-time commentary and that makes it more difficult to create the space for negotiations.
‘In the cold light of day the gap between us is tiny. Is it really worth going on strike for more pay on Saturdays for the people who only attend work on Saturday once a month?
‘There’s an extent to which the dispute isn’t really about the contract. The contract is the totem pole that people have danced around.
‘But it’s all the other factors – the not feeling valued, taken for granted – that are more at play than the terms of the contract.’
Among those that attacked the Health Secretary was doctor Rich Bowman, 27, who said ‘screw you Jeremy Hunt’ in a Facebook post shared almost 26,000 times.
‘All we do is for our patients, how dare you try and turn them against us. All of this is your government’s fault,’ he said.
He claimed that he had been caring for 100 patients in a cancer ward in Birmingham, and that ‘if I made a mistake because I was tired, anyone of of these patients could have died’.
But Birmingham QE hospitals have refuted claims made in the post, which was shared 60,000 times, saying that there was ‘a whole host of both clinical and senior managers on site’.
Sir David’s comments come after several hospital bosses distanced themselves from suggestions they had agreed to a new contract being imposed after they were linked to a letter Mr Hunt used to justify the decision.
The names of 20 NHS health trust bosses in England were attached to a letter from Sir David advising the Government to do ‘whatever it deems necessary’ to break the deadlock.
But around half of the chief executives named have said they did not agree to the contract being forced on medics, even though they backed the terms being offered by the Government.
The BMA has already staged two walkouts and further strikes and legal actions are possibilities, while some junior doctors may refuse to sign new contracts which are due to be implemented from August.
The junior doctor described caring for patients who ‘couldn’t breathe’ and were ‘fighting overwhelming infections’ before joining the picket line with other striking medics. He warned Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had ‘picked a fight with the wrong crowd’ and criticised him for ‘turning patients against us’
The comments below have not been moderated.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
Find out now