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Junior doctors

Reena Aggarwal: Are junior doctors going to vote for the new contract proposal?

27 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

reena_aggarwalJunior doctors are caught in a maelstrom; voting for or against a contract that is the best offer yet proposed, but with questions about its fairness, safety, and practical application especially now in the post Brexit era. Since the contract was published, as one of the public facing grass roots junior doctors over the past ten months, I am increasingly alarmed and dismayed at the nature and content of the debate that has raged over social media platforms by my profession. In many ways this bitter and protracted dispute has captured many years of simmering discontent, anger, and angst over junior doctor working conditions. Declining morale has come to the fore, within the context of ever-increasing public and societal expectation. more…

Partha Kar: A question of faith

13 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

There’s something deep seated within the whole junior doctor angst, isn’t there? Many have joined the bandwagon and converted their angst into a lightening rod for all comers, but peel it apart…and there’s something which is a bit uncomfortable.

Something isn’t quite right regarding the relationships between senior doctors and juniors. Yes, the seniors have manfully stood by them during the strikes and bar a few isolated voices, in general they have been very supportive of juniors. But the deeper question is whether it’s because they genuinely believed that juniors needed a better contract, work/life balance and equality for all or whether there have been other issues involved. For many, it indeed has been the former—a steadfast support and belief that juniors deserve better, but there have also been the throwaway “In my day” comments and the usual “they don’t work as hard,” gnawing away in the background. more…

Neel Sharma: We need to understand the real life applications of technology in medical education

24 May, 16 | by BMJ

Technology as we all know has caused significant movement in medical education. In reality this was not a desire of our own as doctors, but was brought to us courtesy of the gaining popularity of technology use in everyday lives, from the rise of the internet, mobile devices, laptops, and social media. We then attempted to utilise this technology due to its abundance. And further attempted to enhance the academic validity of its use by linking its worth to educational theories. Interestingly many of these theories were developed at a time when technology did not exist. more…

Reena Aggarwal on the politicisation of junior doctors

18 May, 16 | by BMJ

reena_aggarwalThe term junior doctor has entered into vernacular. We have become a news story with media, politicians, and satirists all using it as subject matter. Last year little was known about junior doctors and it would have seemed very unlikely that the medical fraternity would have routinely filled headline news as they do now.

I have a confession. A year ago, I would have been ambivalent, indeed indifferent about the BMA. I’ve been a paid up member for nine years, but I have rarely engaged with it other than occasionally reading The BMJ. The BMA represents four types of doctors—general practitioners, junior doctors, associate specialists, and consultants, as well as medical students. It holds a split identity between being a professional association and trade union. For me, the former role has always prevailed and I had never considered the potential power of being in a union. But how times change—on Saturday I even attended the BMA junior doctor conference for the first time to listen to the great and good from the BMA, alongside 300 junior doctors from across the country. more…

Post-it note triage: A little documentation, a big difference

11 May, 16 | by BMJ

sanna_khawajaIn January this year I spent a fortnight volunteering at the Moria Refugee Camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. At the time Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was the primary care provider in the camp and was supported by other charities such as Médicines Du Monde*.

The small, UK based Health Point Project I was working under aimed to support the work of these remarkable organisations by providing simple first aid, sharing information with refugees about accessing healthcare in the camp, and referring any individuals identified during “outreach” walks who required escalated care—either to MSF or straight to the local hospital. more…

Janis Burns on the junior doctors’ dispute: How can we achieve an outcome that satisfies the majority?

10 May, 16 | by BMJ

janis_burnsAs with most things in life, the best solutions are often the most simple, and with retrospect, they were glaringly obvious. The resumption of talks between the BMA and the government was facilitated by our royal colleges suggesting nothing more complicated than a five day pause. A ceasefire called for by the natural mediators. What could have been more obvious or simple?

Now the negotiators for both parties are rising to an almighty challenge with the weight of an entire profession and the UK public resting on their shoulders.
more…

Rachel Clarke: Junior doctors’ dispute—Jeremy Hunt musn’t ignore doctors’ genuine concerns

10 May, 16 | by BMJ

rachel_clarkeIt’s ironic, isn’t it? Even as last ditch truce talks to settle the junior doctors’ dispute got underway this week, UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt has come under fire yet again for going to war with doctors on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Yesterday, a stroke physician from Oxford University, Professor Peter Rothwell, talked about research that revealed that Hunt’s spin about excessive weekend deaths from strokes is based on assumptions as spurious as they are alarmist. The large scale study shows that over a third of patients recorded as being admitted to hospital for a stroke had actually been admitted for other reasons—particularly the routine, low-risk procedures that tend to be carried out Monday to Friday. These administrative coding errors distort the mortality statistics, erroneously making weekdays appear safer than weekends. more…

Neena Modi: How might the junior doctors’ dispute be resolved?

9 May, 16 | by BMJ

neena_modi2After months of stalemate, a brief pause has been suggested so that both sides in the junior doctors’ dispute can take a deep breath, and get back to talking. How might this pan out?

Let’s start by being quite clear: Paediatricians have always delivered a 24/7 service and the government’s own equality assessment shows that the new contract disadvantages doctors who are parents and carers. But whatever the litany of rights and wrongs of this dispute, trust between junior doctors and government is at rock bottom. It seems to be stretching credulity to the limit to believe this is mere carelessness, so what motive could there possibly be to destroy the morale of a stable, home-grown workforce, committed and proud to serve in a publicly funded healthcare system? more…

David Oliver: A dispute played out via soundbites and spin cannot end well for services

9 May, 16 | by BMJ

david_oliver_2015I write this a few hours after the BMA agreed that it would take up the offer of renewed contract talks with the government, brokered by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The government have in turn agreed a temporary suspension of imposition.

PR has coloured the whole saga of the contract stand-off. What had been a low key bureaucratic process was bizarrely hijacked by Jeremy Hunt last summer when he attacked doctors’ vocation and work ethic, insinuating that they didn’t already work evenings and weekends. more…

Junior doctors’ dispute: pause is welcome but fundamental problems remain

6 May, 16 | by BMJ

tom_moberlyA five day pause in work to introduce a new contract for junior doctors could be a welcome opportunity for both sides to engage meaningfully on the outstanding issues of disagreement. But it would do little to quell the anger that led junior doctors to the first all out strike in the history of the NHS.

Meaningful talks could undoubtedly go some way to closing the gap between the government and the BMA. The government says that the substantive areas of disagreement relate to pay, the most significant being around pay for Saturdays and antisocial hours. The BMA argues that there are at least seven areas of disagreement, including safeguards and protection against working excessive hours. more…

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