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#ImInWorkJeremy - Proving Jeremy Hunt Wrong in Style

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I don't think anyone would disagree that the UK Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, dropped a bit of a clanger when he said in a recent statement that some facets of the NHS had a 'Monday to Friday' working structure. He even went so far as to claim that last year the UK had 6000 unavoidable deaths because medical staff weren't working on weekends. Well, it seems like a lot of those medical staff fundamentally disagree with his assertion, and they're letting him know.
Organised under the #ImInWorkJeremy banner, a slew of selfies, videos and testimonials have surfaced across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of NHS staff making it abundantly clear that yes, they do work on weekends. The tone ranged from humorous to biting to outright angry, which is probably fair enough considering that some of those involved were sharing images of themselves on the back end of 80 hour shifts. Yes, such a thing exists.
Hunt himself made a somewhat ill-advised attempt to stem the tide by tweeting under the hashtag himself, stating his desire to make the NHS safer with 'modern contracts' (using text-speak abbreviations in that particularly inept way that's akin to your Dad trying to dance to 'Gangnam Style').
He went on to tweet an image of himself with medical students at the University College London Hospital, but this quickly backfired when it turned out the picture had been taken on a Friday. Worse still, the original image featured a whiteboard which listed personal patient information. It was swiftly edited, but the brief privacy breach was never directly addressed, instead left to hang in the air for online critics to swing at like some kind of miserable piñata full of negative press instead of Haribo.
The issue which Hunt was attempting to underline was a policy change enacted in 2003 which allowed medical consultants to opt out of weekend work if they wanted to. Many of the critics have stated that although that might be the case, many consultants work well beyond their allocated weekly hours anyway in order to get all their work done. The hashtag has largely been a means for medical staff to dispel the myth that they aren't dedicated to their work.
At the very least, by directly responding to the tweets, Hunt has made it at least marginally clear that he's willing to listen to NHS staff when they fundamentally disagree with him (which given his job, is kind of important) but there's still a long way to go. This hashtag has aptly demonstrated that any imposed contract changes will likely be met with massive opposition, so hopefully Hunt and the rest of the government will start to rethink their approach. It's a good example of the way that social media can provide a direct dialogue between the public and the politicians. 


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#ImInWorkJeremy - Proving Jeremy Hunt Wrong in Style Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 Rating: 5

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