Intended for healthcare professionals

Careers

Six doctors explain how they’ll be voting on 8 June

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2652 (Published 31 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2652
  1. Tom Moberly, UK Editor
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ
  2. BMJ Careers
  1. tmoberly{at}bmj.com
  2. arimmer{at}bmj.com

Abstract

Tom Moberly and Abi Rimmer hear from doctors who plan to vote for Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats in the general election about the reasons behind their decisions

“Why I’m voting Conservative”

John Gannon, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, northwest England

“I’m naturally more of a conservative voter than a Labour or Liberal Democrat voter—conservative with a small “c.” I think it’s brave of the government to talk about the social care bill, because a crisis is clearly looming, and there is something inherently unfair in the taxpayer having to fund, say, me if I become frail and infirm, and yet I’m sitting on a house worth three quarters of a million, which my dependants will happily get when I die. There is something not quite equitable about that. It is a very brave discussion for any political party to embark on. I was a staunch Brexiteer. When the referendum came I had no hesitation in voting to leave [the EU], so I would tend to steer towards a party that in my mind is more likely to deliver Brexit.”

Thomas Nixon, ophthalmology registrar, Cambridge

“I think everyone agrees that we need to be able to fund the NHS and social care better. That depends on good management of the economy, with which I trust the Conservative party more. Currently the government doesn’t have the spare money to spend [on the NHS], so I think it’s unreasonable to hold the Conservative party responsible for something that they are unable to deliver because the money isn’t there. I also trust the Conservative party more with negotiating a good deal on Brexit than Labour. As a specific policy point in this election, I’m a big fan of the social care policy proposal, as I don’t think the state should be subsidising inheritance.”

“Why I’m voting Labour”

Zahid Chauhan, GP, Oldham, Greater Manchester

“It was a Labour government that brought Britain the NHS in 1948, and it remains the only party that will care for the NHS properly and return it to its position as the most successful healthcare system in the world. Under the Conservatives, waiting lists for patients have increased, social care has collapsed, important services have been slashed, deficits have risen, and morale amongst NHS staff has plummeted. I am confident that Labour would integrate health and social care effectively, would value and develop staff, would put patients before profits, and would make sure that the NHS delivers the highest quality healthcare, which is free at the point of contact.”

Eleanor Checkley, consultant anaesthetist, West Yorkshire

“I don’t mind paying more tax if I see better living standards, less poverty, and a better welfare state. I was a bit taken aback by Labour’s proposed tax hike for my tax bracket, which would mean paying 70% tax (as opposed to 63% currently), but I decided that I want a better welfare state, freedom from tuition fees, and control over or reversal of failed privatisation. I am also worried about the current government’s attitudes to NHS staff. There is a lack of appreciation of all NHS staff, the workforce crisis, and a definite lack of a plan. The NHS seems to be a free market only when it suits. It is not a free labour market.”

“Why I’m voting Lib Dem”

Mohsin Khan, psychiatric trainee, London

“'I’m voting Lib Dem because they’re clear about how they’ll fix the funding crisis hitting us daily on the frontline. Taxes will go up, raising £6bn more. Beyond the cash injection, they’re the only ones prepared to seriously look at funding health and social care for years to come. As many psychiatrists know, in the coalition government [of 2010-15] the Lib Dems really pushed mental health back into the picture. When I speak to people on their doorsteps or in university halls, I know the work the Lib Dems did on mental health really resonates well with the public. We desperately need the next government to do much more on mental health and to put its money where its mouth is.”

Anthony Martinelli, year one core trainee in chest medicine, Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire

“The Lib Dems offer the most positive, progressive, internationalist vision of a fairer Britain. It’s really important to me that they are opposing the Conservatives’ hard Brexit: I’ve worked with so many brilliant European doctors and healthcare professionals and only the Lib Dems have consistently pushed for their right to stay in the UK. I like the idea of an extra penny on the pound in income tax for health and social care, and I’m really pleased that the Lib Dem manifesto commits to both ending the public sector pay freeze for NHS workers and protecting whistleblowers.”

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