Amid growing concerns that his enforcement of new contract terms on junior doctors in England and Wales may lead to mass resignations, Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, today revealed plans to plug the skills gap with workers who physically resemble doctors, but have none of their skills or experience.
Hundreds of new NHS staff, dubbed ‘Mocktors’ by Hunt’s department of health, are being recruited based exclusively on how closely they resemble the physical characteristics of existing junior doctors, and how reassuringly professional they can appear while wearing a stethoscope.
“The NHS is changing,” said Mr Hunt, “and while obviously it would be nice to have actual trained medical practitioners to replace the hundreds who are in the process of drafting their resignations, having people who look not dissimilar to trained medical practitioners is the next best thing.”
The Mocktors – several of whom Mr Hunt claims have passed basic first aid courses in their previous employment – are expected to take up their roles in hospitals from as early as March, where they will perform many of the duties previously undertaken by junior doctors, including the processing of blood samples, minor surgical procedures, and frontline work in A&E departments.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, has pledged his full support to the Health Secretary’s plan. “Look, there’s probably evidence to suggest that nine times out of ten people don’t actually need to see a trained doctor, they just need someone who looks reasonably like one to reassure that their rash isn’t dangerous, or their tumour isn’t malignant or whatever,” said Mr Cameron.
“Chances are whatever they’ve got will clear up in a day or two on its own, anyway, so wasting junior doctors’ time on such matters is an insult to them and, frankly, an insult to the whole of the NHS.”
Former call centre worker, Alan Simm, who was one of the first applicants to be appointed as a Mocktor, says he is “excited about the challenges” he’ll face, and while he admits he has no medical expertise or training whatsoever, he is prepared to “give it a bash.”
NewsThing reached out to junior doctors today for their comment on Mr Hunt’s announcement, but couldn’t find any.