When Did We Stop Valuing Doctors?
I am 30 years old and a junior doctor currently working in A&E. This is my 6th year of working as a doctor and I am the first doctor you are likely to see when you come into hospital. This week I am working 6 long days with my only day off, a Thursday. I would like to have spent my day off with my husband but that’s not going to be possible.
My husband, also 30 and a junior doctor, has recently moved out of our family home to move 100miles away to continue his training in orthopaedic surgery. He will drive home for the weekend but alas our reunion will be short-lived, as I will be returning to work in the morning for my 4th weekend on the trot. This is not a one off occurrence; this has now become a way of life, one that will be made permanent if the new regulations are enforced. Not only will we see an increase in the unsocial hours we work but we will also see a cut in our salaries.
As it stands, I can reassure you that it isn’t the pittance of a wage, which gets junior doctors up and down the country out of bed. We take pride in the noble profession we have chosen and the work we do. But soon we will see financial punishments for career choices made. Under the new junior doctor contract; unsocial hours worked in the evenings and Saturdays will be paid at a basic rate, we will receive financial punishments for taking maternity leave to start a family, financial punishments for taking out time for research and academia, punishments for choosing to become GPs.
The DDRB recommendations are nothing less than a slap in our faces and an attack on our rights; our right to safe working conditions, our right to be paid fairly for the work we do, our right to a home and family. My husband and I would love to start a family, but would you bring a child into this arrangement?
Junior doctors of today are the consultants and experts of tomorrow. Ask yourself, do you want your health and life put in the hands of an over-worked, under-trained, under-experienced, unhappy doctor?
When did it become acceptable to have one rule for doctors and another for other professionals, including government professionals? When did doctors become dispensable?
In the same way our NHS cannot exist without patients, our NHS cannot exist without doctors.