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It is difficult to convey how inflammatory the DDRB recommendations are to junior doctors, as well as those of us who aspire to be doctors.
In the same way that the alternative name for the film Dr Strangelove is: ‘How I stopped caring and learned to love the bomb’, the alternative title of the DDRB pay recommendations should be: ‘How I realised that I could save money by punishing doctors even though they didn't cause the economic collapse’.
Medical students are increasingly being asked to subsidise the profession as the Government looks to ever diminish its own investment in the NHS. Because of this, many students will now graduate with more than £100,000 of debt.
Now the Government is seeking to inflict a contract on junior doctors that is simply insulting. It is proposing that junior doctors should work ever longer antisocial hours. Under the new contract a junior doctor working at 9pm on a Saturday night would receive the same compensation as 9am on a Tuesday. Does it sound like that’s a life that’s computable with having a family, friends or a social life? Perhaps the Government would prefer doctors to be emotionless machines?
This contract forgets that doctors, like all healthcare workers, are human too. Medical students have noted the serious consequences of these proposals. For the first time, friends and colleagues at medical student school, and junior doctors in hospital, have confided that they are seriously considering a future outside of the UK.
The basic salary of an F1 is just over £22,000 and they can be asked to pack up their lives and move across the country in order to be trained. Many are dependent on loans, parents and scraping by to meet living costs. I can’t help but notice that by contrast MPs have just awarded themselves a pay increase. If we’re ‘All in this together’ — it’s a funny way to show it.
Tom Rock is the BMA medical students committee deputy chair for finance
Visit the BMA website for more information and updates on junior and consultant contracts