Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bright Young Things Who Yearn to Be Doctors Are Turned Away in Droves

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bright Young Things Who Yearn to Be Doctors Are Turned Away in Droves

Article excerpt

Byline: DENISE ROBERTSON

LAST week I took part in a phone-in for pupils and parents who were receiving A-level results.

There was some disappointment and a lot of jubilation. Then a mother rang in. Her daughter had achieved A-starred grades but she still didn't have a university place to study medicine.

The expert sitting alongside me shook his head. Only 10% of applicants to medical schools were successful.

Would she consider pharmacy or something akin to medicine? No, her heart was set on being a doctor. Our advice was to keep on applying, next year if necessary, but the odds would still be nine to one against.

On the train home I read that thousands of GPs were refusing to take on new patients because of a shortage of doctors and mounting workloads.

The crisis is so bad that in some inner-city areas, up to one post in five is unfilled.

Shortages of GPs have reached crisis levels and blame is being laid on restrictions placed on training places in the past five years A third of GPs are over 50 and in some places half of family doctors are nearing retirement age. 'It is something we have been warning the Government and previous governments about for some time,' the BMA says.

Shortages of GPs have reached crisis levels and blame is being laid on restrictions placed on the number of training places in the past five years.

The next day a letter from a GP appeared. Once upon a time, he wrote, GPs had autonomy. They enjoyed their job. Now they are so harried by officialdom the game's not worth the candle.

The Royal College of General Practitioners says the rush to early retirement by overworked GPs 'is an unbelievable and frightening waste of wisdom and skill' and attempts to recruit GPs from abroad are putting 'a sticking plaster on a gaping sore'.

All this, while a talented young woman with a burning desire to be a doctor has only one chance in 10 of realising her ambition.

LAST week I received a letter from a Jewish friend. She said "I have been fortunate not to experience much anti-Semitism but I worry for my kids.

"The internet makes the world a much smaller place and the depth of hatred they can feel online is scary."

It's not just Jews who face internet abuse. Today's world can seem full of people sitting at home thirsting to vent their spleen. They don't want to make a point, they want to grind their victim into the ground.

That kind of bile has always existed... in claques in theatres, in print, in word of mouth but never before have there been so many opportunities to wound worldwide. I understand my friend's fears for her children.

Young people are susceptible and online abuse can be overwhelming. I don't feel hopeful of official attempts to end it. I cling to the hope that eventually the tormentors may lose interest in their vile pursuit and get a life! …

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