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Careering Around

Will Stevens: Parachuting doctor—life as a UK Army Reserve

26 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

unnamedIn my day job I work as a foundation year 2 junior doctor in Oxfordshire, but for the past seven years, I have also been a serving Army Reservist. Last weekend saw my unit, 144 Parachute Medical Squadron, deploy to Longmoor Training Area in Hampshire on a training exercise called Ex Green Serpent.

The weekend was packed with patrolling, care of casualties while under fire, radio use and signalling, mine awareness, and countering improvised explosive devices—with exercises practised during the day, as well as at night in complete darkness, reflecting the harsh realities of conflict. more…

Helen Jaques: NHS pensions: the saga continues

21 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

One story has dominated my first year as news reporter for BMJ Careers: pensions. And what a compelling story it has been. 

The issue kicked off way back in March this year when Lord Hutton set out a raft of changes to public sector pensions, which included ending final salary schemes in favour of career average schemes, increasing the normal retirement age in line with stage pension age (due to creep up to 68 in the next 35 years), and increasing the amount employees pay into their pensions. Come summer the government gave the green light to Lord Hutton’s proposals and set out the details of the contribution increases for 2012-13. It has however remained tight lipped on increases planned for 2013-14 and 2014-15, which could bring the total increase in contributions up to 3.2 percentage points for high earners such as doctors. These suggestions were met with fury from the BMA, which said that doctors were being asked to pay more and work longer for a worse pension. It has also pointed out that the NHS scheme has already undergone an overhaul in 2008 and is filling the treasury’s coffers to the tune of £10.7 billion over the next five years rather than depleting stocks. more…

Edward Davies: Cheerleading for Lansley at the NHS Alliance

2 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

Edward DaviesDavid Cameron’s oft-quoted assertion that the Health and Social Care Bill has now won the support of NHS professionals is much derided. And last week’s volte face from the BMA to actively oppose the bill only further undermines his optimism. In fact it’s hard to find much support anywhere.

But support there is and most of it was congregating at the NHS Alliance conference in Manchester this week. The NHS Alliance is the perky puppy dog of primary care. Its conferences are always unusually optimistic for a gathering of NHS dwellers – it’s an organisation built largely in the image of its cheerful bow-tied GP chairman Michael Dixon, who set the upbeat tone for the conference by bursting onto the stage through a paper banner screaming “Breakthrough.” Yes, it was as odd as it sounds, but for many delegates at this conference (GPs and primary care management on the whole) the Health and Social Care Bill is what they’ve spent 14 years pushing for. This is their moment. more…

Edward Davies: Something fishy at the GMC…

29 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Edward DaviesDo you ever feel like somebody is softening you up for some bad news?

When I was 18, I was caught speeding in my dad’s car. I’m not proud of it but there was a 19 year old girl in the passenger seat so I hope you understand. Wondering how to broach the subject of needing to take my father’s car registration to a local police station, when I got home I told my mother I’d been in an accident: my companion and I had escaped with minor injuries but the car was a write-off. When, after 30 seconds of gasping and fussing, I revealed the true story – she was so relieved that she barely blinked at the real news. more…

Edward Davies: Sex scandal

29 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Edward Davies Sex and pensions do not comfortable bedfellows make, but I feel I must write something about this. While most of the current talk on UK pensions is about increased contributions and longer working lives, there is an actual scandal passing by barely reported.While I’m not a central pillar in the UK’s feminist movement I am afraid of my wife, take a passing interest in her welfare and am forced to accept that equality between the sexes is probably, ultimately, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, not an outright evil. more…

Edward Davies: What is going on with workforce planning?

7 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Edward Davies Our report this week on problems with specialty trainee year 3 (ST3) applications is merely the latest in a litany of mediocrity to afflict doctors at every single stage of their careers. In the past few months it has transpired that there may not be enough foundation places for medical students, then that a quarter of foundation doctors are not applying for specialist training, and now that specialist trainees are being turfed out of their training two years in.

At every point the medical career structure can go wrong, and is going wrong, often spectacularly. more…

Edward Davies: Money, money, money

20 Sep, 10 | by BMJ Group

Edward Davies It’s a well known fact that all doctors leave work at 4:30 in a gold Bentley, dispersing £50 notes to the massed peasants. They unwind in the evening by sipping a glass of 1961 Dom Perignon in their bath of ass’ milk in the East Wing of their gated mansion, whilst watching private performances by the Royal Shakespeare Comany.

If this does not ring true then you are simply letting the side down, and you might want to watch tonight’s Panorama to get the real picture of what your colleagues are up to. more…

David Payne asks: Should forensic medicine be female-led?

10 Aug, 10 | by BMJ Group

David Payne Since 2000 the Havens centres in London have helped more than 11 000 people of both sexes who have been raped or sexually assaulted. Like many sexual assault referral centres (SARCs), the Havens doesn’t employ male doctors. All of its examiners are female, so if you want a male doctor at a follow up appoinment, you can attend a fortnightly clinic in Whitechapel. more…

Flying Shrinks

9 Jun, 07 | by BMJ

Medicine is both a passport and a visa, permitting access to unknown places and insights into places most will never see. more…

It’s your call

20 May, 07 | by BMJ

There’s nothing quite like being interviewed in your pyjamas. Lots of people have emailed, asking for hints and advice about phone interviews. more…

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