Saturday, 9 June 2007

No time for celebration

The fancier has been lucky enough to secure employment for August this year, however there are many who have not yet been so lucky. Remedy Uk is running a list which contains all the junior doctors who are staring unemployment in the face at the moment.

It's hard to sum up just how traumatic this year has been for everyone involved, and this trauma is not yet over for the majority of candidates, it must seem that it will never end. It has been five months of uncertainty so far, and this will stretch towards eight months for many. And this stress has been all added on top of working in some pretty demanding roles as it is. I am quite sure that this has been too much for some people to take, the emotional and physical drain has taken its inevitable toll.

All of us know people who have quit medicine or are quitting, or who have decided to end their days with the NHS and flee for greener grass overseas. At my lowest ebb I have had thoughts of quitting medicine, even though it is the only thing I ever really wanted to do, but we do all have out limits of endurance. I don't know how much longer I could have lasted before breaking.

I have now got lucky. I will not lie, I do feel very relieved but there is no sense of satisfaction for me; a feeling of hollow emptyness has taken hold as a result of the grave injustice inflicted upon so many of us this year. The Department of Health may be running scared now, but nothing they do now can make up for the terrible damage that has already been done.

It is not just about a job, it is about so much more that that. A generation has been treated inhumanely and with a complete lack of respect, as if they were nothing more that cattle being forcefully bullied into a pen. Our generation has been abused and violated, and this betrayal will live long in our memories. Those behind this should be deeply ashamed of what they have done, and events should never be forgotten, they must be remembered so that future generations never have to suffer like this again.

It is no time for celebration, it is a time for thinking of those who are still having to endure this nightmare process. Whether being forced to uproot and move miles from home, or having to worrying about unemployment when having to support a young family; it is hard to ignore the devastating human cost.

The long term damage done by this years events cannot be underestimated, the last remaining islands of goodwill and trust have been all but decimated. The risk of creating a whole generation of demoralised staff who see no incentive in investing that little bit extra threatens to become a very worrying reality. Those in control have always failed to appreciate how the service is held together by some very hard working well meaning doctors; this years events threaten to be yet another nail in the NHS' coffin.


Anonymous said...


You do not mean "decimated". That would mean that goodwill and trust have been reduced by 1 in 10 (ie 10%). You mean "all but eliminated". Which it has been.

Well done on getting a job. My brother is one of the "eliminated"/disgusted/undervalued etc and has applied for a job in Canada.

Garth Marenghi said...

dec·i·mate (ds-mt)
tr.v. dec·i·mat·ed, dec·i·mat·ing, dec·i·mates
1. To destroy or kill a large part of (a group).
2. Usage Problem
a. To inflict great destruction or damage on: The fawns decimated my rose bushes.
b. To reduce markedly in amount: a profligate heir who decimated his trust fund.
3. To select by lot and kill one in every ten of.

I think it works ok.

dreamingspire said...

The Concise Oxford (6th ed 1976) calls the one-tenth meaning ‘historical’ and gives the then current meaning ‘destroy tenth or large proportion of’. Garth could have just used 'destroyed', if that's what he believes.
Its Farm Sunday today, so I went to see a farm. The farmers have also had a bad time at the hands of govt (with the support payment), and their union also wasn't strong enough. It seems that the traditional unions representing professional people (for farmers are indeed such) just cannot get their heads around the fact that too often govt doesn't do the decent thing these days. British is about being decent, you know.

The Junior Doctor said...

Congratulations FF

Shiny Happy Person said...

Brilliantly written. Everything I wish I could articulate.

Anonymous said...

Its horrifying how it has come full circle. We campaigned to end 100+ hour working weeks, in an environment where at my teaching hospital, junior doctors were not allowed into the administration area; we had to wait out in the corridor by the public lifts. I think they thought we were so revolting we would foul their carpet or something. When we refused to cancel our holidays because they couldn't get locum cover, we were berated for upsetting the HR staff. No one gave a flying f**k about how upsetting 6 months of 100 hour weeks without a break was.

For a brief period it seemed we were going to be treated like real human beings. We had an OH service, rather than situations like one doc I know who was told he could take a morning off for his radiotherapy appointment once a week - but had to be back on the ward by 12 so that he could cover over lunch time. Or being scheduled for the night shift just before major surgery (shift finished 8am, on the operating table at 9.30 .

No wonder we felt there was, momentarily, cause for hope. But two things have gone. the training organisation is the obvious one. The fellowship among doctors is another. Yes, everyone's stressed. But before it was trench warfare. We were all in it together. The work was there to be done and you didn't spend time berating your colleagues for referring patients, or finding reasons to duck referrals. This happens in all areas of hospital work now. The rudeness to GPs and staff grades is quite jaw dropping. One of the reasons people stay in Australia is that out there doctors are actually pleasant to one another. They know that accepting referrals is what they are there for. They realise that not every referral is perfect, but unless they assess the patient themselves they can never be sure. A huge part of the stress of being a doctor in the modern NHS lies in making referrals to rude and sanctimonious colleagues.

That's something we could change without outside assistance.