The current crisis facing junior doctors has been filling headlines for months. Jeremy Hunt is trying to invoke a new contract demanding more hours from NHS doctors already hectic schedules. Statistics prove that doctors are already over worked and struggling to cope without the pressure of foreshadowing contract changes.
A recent study shows doctor suicide is higher than that of other professional groups, with young doctors at the beginning of their training being particularly vulnerable. Female doctors are twice as likely as the general population to take their lives.
Carys Allen, currently studying Medicine at the University of Liverpool School of Medicine, is aware of the dangerous consequences the change of contracts will entail. She describes the contract changes as ‘the final nail in the coffin’ and worries that when she graduates in 2019 the changes will drastically affect her work/life balance and she may be unable to focus and therefore become a danger to patients.
Miss Allen also spoke out about how current doctors are already struggling and because of this she cannot understand Jeremy Hunt’s decision – worrying that this action is ‘to weaken the NHS and result in privatisation’.
‘Seeing doctors that I know work insane hours, knowing that things will only get worse for when I graduate is terrifying! It scares me how much stress I will have throughout my career, particularly in the first few years as a junior doctor, and that the government really aren’t listening at how detrimental to the NHS this is.’
Negotiations between the BMA and the Department of Health broke down further this week when the latest issue of ‘Saturday shifts’ was rejected by junior doctor’s chairman Dr Johann Malawana who has proposed an alternative contract. However, Jeremy Hunt is now closer to imposing a new contract which junior doctors say will reduce their overall level of pay as evenings and Saturdays will no longer be considered “unsocial” hours.
On Tuesday an online survey found that 90 per cent of junior doctors would consider resigning if the contract was imposed on them.