Herts Ad comment: Junior doctors and removing a torched caravan

This week's editor's comment...

This week's editor's comment... - Credit: Archant

An unprecedented two days of all-out strikes by junior doctors has happened this week - but you would barely know that if the West Herts Hospitals Trust has anything to do with it.

For under the headline ‘Important Information’ on the website of the trust responsible for St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals, there are just three paragraphs referring to the possible postponement of appointments and procedures and how they will go ahead if the strike is cancelled. The trust signs off with the immortal words ‘Please DO NOT phone the hospital at this busy time’.

So no mention of trying to avoid A&E at all costs, what to do if you go into early labour and how intensive is the care you will get in the Intensive Care Unit if it is bereft of junior doctors which, remember, is anyone up to consultant level.

No indication of whether the Minor Injuries Unit is open at St Albans City Hospital or the Urgent Care Centre at Hemel Hempstead Hospital, no suggestion of where to turn for help during the strike - just a reminder not to call the hospital.

And when the Herts Advertiser contacted the trust to find out what impact the strike was having, all we were told is that its ‘very robust’ plan to ensure cover for the striking doctors had ensured there were no issues.

What was the ‘robust plan’, are there sufficient consultants and senior nurses available to cover for two days and what do they mean by ‘issues’? Just a few questions that needed addressing

No wonder junior doctors are so disillusioned if even the trusts they work for treat a two-day all-out strike as nothing more than a routine hiccup - and an excuse to tell people not to call them.

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Support is still with the junior doctors - after all, they save lives, politicians and trust administrators don’t - but it is pretty clear that to the trust it is all just a slight nuisance.

If the burned out caravan in Colney Heath Lane remains there any longer, it could be labelled as an historic monument. Promises of its removal tomorrow were being made as the Herts Advertiser went to press - and we wait with baited breath to see whether this actually occurs - but at the end of the day there was no reason why it should have been in situ for the best part of three weeks.

Not only was it an eyesore, but it was a potential hazard to motorists, being located in an unlit stretch of road near a bend, and with poor signing warning drivers to be alert.

Of course, what we have here is another classic example of council buck-passing. To avoid the cost of removing it, the county council decided it should be considered as flytipping, and tasked the district council with its disposal.

This sort of bureaucratic wrangling is what gives local government a bad name, and shows how Herts county council is really more concerned about any cost implications instead of the safety and wellbeing of local residents.