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Like many of you, I'd hoped that with the mountain of evidence and testimony provided, the Doctors and Dentists Review Body would have seen fit to show its 'independence' and not simply become the Government's mouthpiece giving old bad ideas a new rubber-stamp.
I say that as the co-chair of the BMA junior doctors committee, but I say it also as a doctor who, quite simply, couldn’t have made the choices I have about my career under the proposed new system.Those choices help me be the best doctor I can for my patients. Without them, I would be diminished and so too would the care I could offer them.It goes to the heart of why we have been working so hard on negotiating a new contract. Junior doctors work long hours and take high-risk clinical decisions. In return, they need stability.The safeguards against tired doctors, the basic quality-of-life issues that workers in other fields take for granted, it was all about creating a backdrop of stability to a working life that is inevitably full of unstable, uncertain and demanding clinical situations. We weren’t asking the Government to make medicine easier, we were asking for basic protections in our working life that enabled us to practise medicine to the best of our abilities.Stability isn't simply about pay but it is an important factor. In my medical career to date I have been a hospital medical registrar, a PhD student and now a public health registrar. I have worked full-time and less-than-full-time, and over the last ten years have made tough choices in order to achieve the relative pay stability needed to live my life. This is why the idea of 'flexible pay premia', coined by the DDRB, and to be reviewed annually by the Government, fills me with anger. It sweeps the stability right away.A one year pay increase designed to entice junior doctors to a speciality or region and then removed when the 'hard to recruit' badge is lost, removes that very stability of predicting your pay cheque from one job to the next.It also makes a mockery of the exceedingly complicated real-life factors doctors weigh up when deciding which specialty and in which region to train. To be clear, we’re professionals and we give everything we can to our patients, even if our career choices, financial assumptions and chance to find somewhere decent to live have all been thrown askew. But why does the Government, and now the DDRB, seek to distract and demoralise us from our work in this way?The changes proposed in the DDRB recommendations will affect junior doctors in many different ways and over the next days we will bring you a series of opinion pieces written by doctors working in different specialties up and down the country. This is a critical time for our profession. We want to know what you think about these recommendations and how they will impact you, so do please continue to contact Andrew and myself at [email protected] or tweet @DrKittyMohan and @DrACollier.
Read foundation 1 doctor Melody Redman's blog on the DDRB recommendations
Visit the BMA website for more information and updates on junior and consultants contract
You know what we think - it's all over social media - so what to do?
If these recommendations are finalised, I am going to migrate to Australia. And I'm fairly confident that a lot of doctors will as well.