Magazine article The Spectator

Why Junior Doctors Feel Betrayed

Magazine article The Spectator

Why Junior Doctors Feel Betrayed

Article excerpt

Like many of my fellow junior doctors, I trusted a Conservative government with the NHS. If it's to stay strong and up to date, a health service cannot remain static. It needs not just money but carefully thought-out reform -- as well as a strong economy to support it.

Just after the general election, David Cameron laid out the problem as he saw it: a 'weekend effect' where a patient admitted to hospital on a Sunday is 16 per cent more likely to die than one admitted on a Wednesday. 'So seven-day care isn't just about a better service -- it's about saving lives,' he said. This is a classic example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

When I work weekend shifts, I do notice that services could be improved -- not everyone in a hospital works seven days. But if Jeremy Hunt wants to remedy this, he should incentivise more doctors to work out of hours. Instead, he plans to penalise those of us who already do. Yes, pay for normal hours will rise by 11 per cent -- but 'normal hours' will be defined as lasting until 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday. This will, of course, mean less money for doctors who work late into evenings. But even more importantly, it will deter junior doctors from pursuing specialisms with more out-of-hours work -- such as accident and emergency, paediatrics, and acute medicine.

Junior doctors training in A&E already work the most evenings, nights and weekends. Currently they are rewarded financially for this, in the same way that most workers -- from cleaners to policemen -- are. But without the out-of-hours premium, a career in A&E becomes even less appealing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.