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Junior doctors

Reena Aggarwal: Finding a scapegoat for the NHS crisis

16 Jan, 17 | by BMJ

reena_aggarwalA year ago junior doctors in England went on strike for the first time in four decades. Jeremy Hunt, health secretary for England, used statistics on the so called “weekend effect” to justify a new contract for junior doctors. This was despite warnings from the medical director of NHS England that it would be “rash and misleading” to suggest that causation could be attributed to seemingly more deaths over the weekend. Yet this misuse of statistics persisted throughout the very protracted dispute between the medical profession and the government.  more…

Kushal Patel: Pay inequity spells a winter of discontent for junior doctors

20 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

kushal_patelThis past year has been particularly turbulent for junior doctors nationwide. Mired in a public standoff with the government and with lacklustre stop-start plans for industrial action, it has rendered them a workforce that feels at best confused and at worst abandoned by its union. It is safe to say that morale has sunk to a new low.

Yet another thorn in the already well pierced side of the junior doctor cohort is the dilemma of pay protection and the resulting pay inequity. Pay protection, a short-term measure allowing for financial stability during contractual changeover, safeguards employees, enabling them to plan and maintain fixed term outgoings such as rent and mortgage payments.   more…

Jonathan Glass: Irrational numbers in surgical training

2 Dec, 16 | by BMJ

jonathan glassI enjoy numbers. I enjoy the accuracy they provide; the guidance they give in the practise of clinical medicine; and, though very far from being a mathematician, I like reading of their discovery throughout history, their quirkiness, and I like being shown their logic even though I know I won’t be able to remember or explain all I hear.

Just as I enjoy numbers, I get distressed when numbers are used to distort facts. It distresses me when they are misinterpreted to imply one football manager is better than another, when they are used erroneously to suggest one country’s healthcare outcomes are better than another’s, or when they are used by politicians to lie to the population. more…

Isabella Laws: Are GP consultations becoming tick-box exercises?

14 Nov, 16 | by BMJ

isabella_lawsEverything we learn at medical school hones our ability to effectively conduct a consultation within 10 minutes. We are taught first to examine the body’s systems fully and methodically, then we learn how to focus them in order to save time. We are instructed to ask open questions and invite the patient to speak, then to direct them in order to rule out differential diagnoses. We are even assessed in this way; by the time you sit your finals all OSCE stations are either 10 or 15 minutes long. more…

Shilpa Prabhakar: Should you choose mental health as your specialty?

27 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

shilpa_prabhakarI have always wanted to be a doctor. Perhaps, like many, I was attracted to medicine because I wanted to help people. After qualifying in 2004, I briefly did a general medical rotation before moving into paediatrics and then surgical specialties. That’s when I came across psychiatry.

Mental health is the only specialty where you can have two different patients with the same diagnosis, but they present in completely different ways. The ability to work with patients over a long period of time is very unique to psychiatry. more…

Richard Thorley: Exception reporting—let’s show Jeremy how hard we really work  

11 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

richard_thorleyThe day we have all been dreading in obstetrics and gynaecology has arrived. Some trusts started to roll out the new contract for junior doctors last week. The cancellation of strike action recently left a select few determined strike activists fuming, but while it seems most of us welcomed the decision, it has left us bereft of any plan to stop Jeremy Hunt’s new contract for junior doctors in England. We await further announcements from the JDC, who remain firmly opposed in principle to the imposition. They talk of further action not based around strikes, but there is no indication of what this might be or how it could possibly halt the juggernaut that is the 2016 deal. The regrettable failure of Justice for Health to win a favourable outcome in the High Court recently means that with just days to go before the first tranche of us sign on the dotted line, any remaining fight to prevent the new conditions being introduced is futile.  more…

Ahmed Rashid: The UK junior doctor contract dispute in 10 hashtags

29 Sep, 16 | by BMJ

ahmed_rashidHashtag: #iminworkjeremy

Description: When Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for health) accused the NHS of having a “Monday to Friday culture,” healthcare workers from across the country posted selfies of themselves busy at work on their weekend shifts.

Example: @trentconsultant #ImInWorkJeremy been round with registrar. Every patient seen. All poorly ones or who need decision seen by consultant. New contract needed? (18/07/15). more…

Thomas Oliver: Rare sarcomas—improving awareness among junior doctors

12 Aug, 16 | by BMJ

Thomas OliverThe National Sarcoma Awareness Project was launched in 2013 by a team from the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (funded by the Bone Cancer Research Trust) to raise sarcoma’s profile among medical students and junior doctors. Four years in, it has caught the imaginations of over a thousand participants—a new generation of potential sarcoma clinicians and researchers, which now includes me since I participated in the funded fellowship last year.

I recently discussed my involvement in the project, believing that any drive to improve sarcoma patient care must address the relative ignorance we, as a profession, have about sarcoma.

This is, perhaps, of no great surprise. more…

Michael Moran: How to define a junior doctor

12 Aug, 16 | by BMJ

michael_moranIt was a rude awakening for me when a new registrar colleague exclaimed with glee: “your GMC number begins with a 6!”

I hadn’t the heart to tell her that it’s actually a “61…” GMC number, and so there must have been around 100,000 doctors who qualified between my graduation day and hers. And so, you must understand, on any given day, I don’t feel very “junior.” With a Masters and PhD under my belt, as well as 11 years of work as a doctor, I wonder about the job title that is bandied about for so many of us: junior doctor. more…

Rosamund Snow: What to call junior doctors—a patient’s perspective

12 Aug, 16 | by BMJ

rosamund_snowThe Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh have recently called for a change in the way we refer to junior doctors–“junior” and “trainee” sounds too pejorative and affects the morale of these “highly skilled and dedicated professionals.”

I’m not convinced that this kind of change would make a lot of difference to doctors’ morale or burn-out rate, which seems to stem from slightly more complex causes than job titles, but if it helps, fine. All I ask is that you remember the patient while thinking of an alternative. more…

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