Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature

Commentary: “The political response has been dismal”

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5 (Published 03 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j5
Read all the articles in this series on the NHS in 2017

Rapid Response:

If only other politicians had the courage and honesty of Dr Wollaston

Sarah Wollaston's analysis hits the nail directly on the head.

This comes as no surprise to me, having watched several of her Health Select Committee performances over the past year or so. She acknowledges facts, knows whereof she speaks, understands complex numerical data and speaks her mind about health issues - even when this puts her at variance with other party colleagues (including her own party's Secretary of State).

Over my 35 year NHS career I have never hitherto become actively involved in medical politics. The fight that Jeremy Hunt chose to pick with junior doctors, and the attitude he chose to take regarding them, changed that. The more I have seen - and I have been paying attention - the less I have thought of Mr Hunt. Paradoxically, the more I have heard from Dr Wollaston, the more I have admired her courage in speaking truth to power, irrespective of her party alliances.

I, for one, will be heeding the advice in her last paragraph: "Never underestimate the impact you can make during a personal visit to MPs’ surgeries or through an invitation to your workplace." I hope many others follow.

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 January 2017
Kit Byatt
largely retired consultant geriatrician
Hereford