“The government has declared war on the people in this country,” roars Simpson Millar’s Peter Stefanovic
An outspoken partner of a leading medical negligence firm has taken the internet by storm after a video of an angry speech he made at a rally went viral.
The video — which shows the impassioned solicitor at an anti-government, pro-junior doctors rally in Newcastle over the weekend — has racked up over 24,000 views on Facebook.
The man behind the speech is Peter Stefanovic, a London-based partner at medical negligence outfit Simpson Millar. Addressing a large group of protesters, the rousing piece of oratory includes fierce lines like “the government has declared war on the people in this country” and “no elected government in this country has the right to bully and intimidate 53,000 people into accepting a contract that is unsafe, that’s unfair and that’s discriminatory”.
The new junior doctors contract has proved a contentious talking point in recent months. There are real concerns from doctors and members of the general public alike that NHS staff will be worse off under the health secretary’s proposed contract changes. This fear has led to rallies, strike action, and now a crowdfunded judicial review challenge.
Some commentators — like the queen of controversy herself, Katie Hopkins — have dismissed junior doctors’ concerns and accused them of greed. But for University of Wolverhampton grad Stefanovic, NHS staff have every reason to be worried, and need to continue their fight against the government.
It’s interesting that a medical negligence solicitor, whose work depends on mistakes and mishaps by hospital staff, would speak out in favour of junior doctors so publicly. But it’s clearly an issue he feels very strongly about — he even describes himself on his LinkedIn page as a “Medical Negligence Lawyer and NHS supporter”.
But it’s not just Stefanovic taking an interest. The junior doctor dispute has been followed closely by lawyers on social media since it began. This may be because the profession is typically fascinated with and attached to ideas of justice and fairness, and there are genuine questions about the legality of Jeremy Hunt’s contract.
Stefanovic taps into this in his rant when he claims that there is simply “so much injustice in this contract I just don’t know where to begin”. He adds:
I’m a lawyer Mr Hunt. I can tell you that imposition is not a negotiation, it’s bloody bullying.
The solicitor, who specialises in representing cerebral palsy patients, finishes his stirring speech by encouraging the gathering crowd to “fight on”, and attempts to start a chant of “unite and fight”.