Junior doctors will be offered counselling over any ‘unkind comments’ over next week’s four-day strike when patients ‘will inevitably die’
- Medics should ‘look after ourselves and our mental health’ said strike architect
- Support offered for those who are ‘the target of negative and unkind comments’
Junior doctors have been offered counselling for any ‘unkind comments’ they receive over next week’s devastating strikes, the Mail can reveal.
An architect of the action said medics should ‘look after ourselves and our mental health’ during the walkouts – despite experts warning the disruption will see patients ‘inevitably die’.
Dr Adrianna Zembrzycka, of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) junior doctors committee, offered support for those who are ‘the target of negative and unkind comments’.
The militant ringleader said the BMA ‘offers a range of peer support, counselling and wellbeing services’ for anyone affected as they fight for an inflation-busting 35 per cent pay rise.
But there was seemingly little concern for the 250,000 patients who will have vital operations and appointments cancelled during the four-day strike starting on Tuesday.
Dr Adrianna Zembrzycka (pictured), of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) junior doctors committee, offered support for those who are ‘the target of negative and unkind comments’
The militant ringleader said the BMA ‘offers a range of peer support, counselling and wellbeing services’ for anyone affected as they fight for an inflation-busting 35 per cent pay rise (pictured: striking junior doctors outside Downing Street)
Last month’s three-day action saw 175,000 cancellations as young medics withdrew from A&E and critical care departments across England.
Politicians criticised the doctors and told them to ‘focus on the patients they’re letting down’.
Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson said: ‘Medical Momentum, the BMA, need to get a grip.
‘Whilst they’re striking, 250,000 operations are getting canned. They should be helping the folks that’ll miss their appointments instead of ‘offering counselling’ to their members because people have had enough of these stunts.
‘The BMA junior doctors’ leadership should focus on the patients they’re letting down, get round the negotiating table, and get this strike over with.’
Dr Zembrzycka, deputy co-chairman for professional issues on the BMA’s junior doctors committee, penned the ‘woke’ article on the trade union’s website last week.
She said that the decision to take industrial action means ‘the coming weeks and months will be extremely busy and challenging.’
The medic went on: ‘We are all going to need to look after ourselves and our mental health and wellbeing.
‘We may come under more media scrutiny, we may feel extra pressures in our workplaces or find interactions with bosses, colleagues, patients, possibly even friends and family, more difficult.
‘As representatives, deputies and involved union members, we are on the front line. And unfortunately, this could mean being the target of negative and unkind comments.
‘Understandably, this may take a toll on our mental health and so I want to ask everyone to do as much as they can to look after themselves and protect their mental health and wellbeing.’
She then listed the ‘peer support, counselling and wellbeing services’ on offer and added that they ‘are not limited to pay dispute matters’.
Dr Zembrzycka said their stand-off with the Government ‘could get rather bumpy’ so medics ‘really must look after ourselves and others’.
She also urged medics to ‘try to remain kind, compassionate, civil and respectful at all times’ – despite doctors sharing vicious memes online.
One meme used clips from the famous ‘Here’s Johnny’ scene in The Shining to show Health Secretary Steve Barclay being chased with an axe.
Dr Zembrzycka signed off her letter by writing: ‘We are in this together and I suspect we’re going to need each other a lot. Stick together, fight together, win together.’
Dr Zembrzycka (pictured) signed off her letter by writing: ‘We are in this together and I suspect we’re going to need each other a lot. Stick together, fight together, win together.’
The comments are likely to infuriate the hundreds of thousands of patients who have had operations and appointments cancelled.
Leading heart experts have warned that crucially ill patients ‘will inevitably die’ as a direct result of the industrial action.
Dr Richard Grocott-Mason, chief executive of the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, said: ‘I feel it is only right to warn that some patients will inevitably die due to the cumulative impact of delaying hundreds who are on the waiting list.’
He said 300 ‘P2’ patients awaiting heart surgery – the second highest priority group – will now have to wait even longer for surgery.
‘It is no exaggeration to say that delaying surgery for this group [P2s] will result in harm. For some, this may be life-changing. For others, it may mean premature death,’ Dr Grocott-Mason said.
Despite the warning, the junior doctors committee will not offer any strike exemptions for any areas of life-or-death care next week, including A&E, and intensive care and maternity services.
This has infuriated some senior medics especially given that the Royal College of Nursing has exempted many areas of life-or-death care from the strikes it has held since December.
The BMA stressed that the range of wellbeing services are available to all doctors, including non-members, and are ‘not limited to pay dispute matters’.
A spokesman said: ‘The BMA is proud to offer wellbeing services not just to our members, but the wider profession, whether that is during a pandemic, throughout the challenges of industrial action or at any other point.
‘We look after doctors so they can look after patients.
‘It’s insulting and stigmatising to refer to people who seek help for their mental wellbeing as snowflakes, especially given everything doctors and their colleagues went through during the Covid pandemic to look after people, often to the detriment of their own physical, mental and emotional health.’
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