Junior Doctors: Get Over It Is Just Not Good Enough

Junior Doctors: Get Over It Is Just Not Good Enough

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news recently you can’t have failed to notice that there’s a storm occurring in healthcare. The government have imposed their new contract and a review has been commissioned to look into the morale of  junior doctors.

The response to this from some commentators and ‘leaders’ has been along the lines of “It’s time to move on” with Roy Lilley in his blog giving a long list of things that people should just ‘Get over’.


Junior doctor morale has been low for years with endless reviews commissioned in to training and the role of the registrar etc etc etc. the outcome of which has been to mainly promote resilience training as a way to cope with the system.


Whilst well intentioned, to me this implies that there is something inherently wrong with the person not the system. Junior doctor mental health is worsening and we need to think carefully about why that is.


When a junior doctor’s daughter asks if they live at the hospital and their response is to say, it’s how it’s always been.


It’s not good enough.


When a colleague loses a parent and is told they’ll need to pay back the time they took off from their annual leave.


It’s not good enough


When someone takes time off for mental health reasons and is forever looked down upon as being weak.


It’s not good enough


When you’re told to cover a nightshift when you’ve worked all day that has been vacant for 4 months but no ones bothered to fill.


It’s not good enough


When you’re the only one left to do all the tasks that need to be done because everyone else is too busy even though you’re at breaking point yourself.


It’s not good enough


When you see your consultant try their best to support you but coming in on weekends  just so they can stand still, it makes you worry about your future.


It’s not good enough


These are not the failings of the individual they are failings of a culture and systems that are outdated and need to change.


So when leaders tell me that it’s time to move on, they show a total lack of empathy towards what is happening and it reinforces what we already know, that we are seen as an inconvenience and fresh faced ‘juniors’ who don’t really know what we’re talking about. It is a reflection of a system that denies a voice to anyone who thinks it needs to change. And if I, with all my white male middle class privilege, feel denied a voice, just imagine how some of my colleagues feel right now.


So excuse me if I don’t ‘get over it’ because truth be told it’s just not good enough.


P.s. If you are a doctor and you do need someone to talk to then Dave Jones (@welshgasdoc) has put together this very helpful list. Please use it .


Written by Rowan

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