An online petition has already collected over 50,000 signatures calling for the BMA to support doctors taking strike action against the planned introduction of new junior doctor contracts. Doctors are concerned that a recent government decision to impose new junior doctor contracts will result in lower pay and increased hours. This has been met with huge criticism and backlash.
In a three day period last week, over 1600 doctors expressed an interest in applying for roles outside the UK. The General Medical Council said it would normally receive about 20 requests a day for certificates needed to work abroad. This sharp spike in the number of requests began a day after the government’s announcement. Social media has been the platform for much of the outpouring of views and perspectives.
A medical student wrote a letter to David Cameron expressing her concerns and placed it on Facebook to encourage others to do the same.
Another scathing letter sent to David Cameron by 26 year-old junior doctor Janis Burns has been viewed by over 80,000 people on Facebook.
Some of the more popular tweets focus on the significant pay cut likely to be felt and the lack of clarity on what salaries will be.
— Kat Parmar (@KatParmar) September 22, 2015
I can't think of a single job contract people would agree to without knowing their salary so why should doctors with #juniorcontract ?
— Den Langhor (@DLGDen) September 19, 2015
Many tweets draw attention to the number of years junior doctors have been studying and working:
— Sarah Walker (@BaryonyxS) September 23, 2015
The changes will have a detrimental impact on morale, says Janis Burns
4,455 of 4,500 junior doctors disagreed a new contract would benefit patients. They have been blackmailed and now ignored. #juniorcontract
— David Holland (@holland1133) September 18, 2015
— Owain Jones (@owainjones22) September 23, 2015
— Roshana Mehdian (@RoshanaMN) September 23, 2015
Junior doctors will not sit back and allow the Government to simply push through these proposed changes unchallenged.
— Andrew Collier (@DrACollier) September 16, 2015
Using the hashtag #juniorcontract, the representatives of over 9,000 junior doctors in UK and Ireland posted their views made in a Joint Training Committee statement:
— Benjamin Fox (@BenjaminLukeFox) September 23, 2015
Much of the social media focus is the numbers of junior doctors considering leaving the UK to work abroad or leaving the profession altogether.
#imajuniordoctor . age 32. 5 years medical school. 8 years a doctor. 1 msc. 2 post grad exams. Is it time to leave medicine? = hunt effect
— dr kate (@katekmg) September 21, 2015
— Rachel Freedman (@RachFreedman) September 21, 2015
— Eóin Harty (@tupelo81) September 20, 2015
- Problems with the new junior doctor contract
- Nine royal colleges warn government about damaging effects of new junior doctors’ contract
Sarah M Foster is an intern at the BMJ.
Competing interests: None declared.