Sunday, March 11, 2007

Being a junior doctor in the UK

I haven't posted much recently. I've been busy with exams, night shifts and job applications. I've not had time to do much else.

Many people feel that it is a bad time to be a junior doctor in the UK right now. A new training scheme has been introduced called Modernising Medical Careers. It is designed to shorten medical training and produce doctors that are 'fit for purpose'. Possibly less experienced (and less motivated - more later) but 'fit for purpose'.

Being a junior doctor in training in the UK now is a bit like being in the army. The pay is OK so I can buy as many CDs as I want and the hours are not as bad as they were in the past but you have to accept one thing. The government own you. The government runs your life.

Now that does sound a bit paranoid, doesn't it. They don't actually own you, you can always quit and stop being a doctor but you probably don't want to do that. Being a doctor is a good thing. You try to help people.

However there are a lot of hurdles. MTAS is the medical training application service, a computerised matching scheme that will decide where I live for the next few years. I cannot apply for just one job that I actually want in a specific area, I have to apply for up to four jobs in a geographical area stretching from Inverness to Liverpool . Interviews are offered based on 150 word answers to very vague questions that are meant to pick up good potential trainees based on some psychological profiling theories.

I did quite well. I've been offered three interviews. I enjoy creative writing. I am not convinced that this indicates that I am a good doctor (although I try hard and I hope I am).

Many people have been offered no interviews and are very unhappy.

So, If I am offered a job, no matter where it is, I have to take it. I will have to move if I don't get offered my dream job in my dream location. It's not so bad for me. I'm not married. I don't have kids. I'm not in a relationship right now. I don't have a house cos I'm still paying off my debts from medical school. It's not so bad for me.

I just might have to take a job not doing exactly what I want somewhere I don't really want to be. There is a bright side to this. I will meet new people and they might be cool. There might even be some attractive women. It could be fun.

When I go to work right now, when I eat lunch with my colleagues, I don't see too many happy faces. Junior doctors have it rough right now.

For more eloquent writing check out

Try the NHS blog doctor link on the right side of the page for more.

Stay funky



Aphra Behn said...

The army analogy is a good one. I've been thinking that myself. In fact - given level of training and skill you guys display, and the cost of the toys - my thought was actually "test pilots".

Thanks for the link, and good luck with the lottery.


The Angry Medic said...

Agreed - the army analogy IS a good one. I was actually planning on serving in the military when I qualified, but hey, with THESE Stalinist rules, who needs the military now?

Great summary dude. Stay phunky, schizzle ma nizzle, all that stuff.

Cal said...

Yup, none of my House Officers or Senior House Officers seem too happy at the moment... hell, even some of the registrars.

There's a lot of talk of moving to Australia or NZ.

What a mess.

zoe said...

it all sounds awful. good luck with the applications though x

drphunk said...

Thanks for reading.

The whole situation is a mess. Sadly, it's so complicated that it hasn't really clicked with the general public but it does pass the 'taxi driver test' if you talk about it during an average 5 minute journey. I'm being stoic. I'll take any job I'm offered.

p.s. great to hear from you. Are you in brum living with c? (heta said something like that). Hope you are well. email me or I'll email you


drphunk said...

ps was for zoe btw

Anastasia said...

Hey hope you're doing all right.

It's similar here in Australia, students aren't given a Medicare provider number until they qualify further (on the job experience, for a couple of years after graduation at least), but if they want one, they need to accept jobs wherever they are, primarily away from cities.

drphunk said...

Hey Anastasia,

Thanks for reading. For me it isn't really the geography. I am quite flexible to a certain extent and I am willing to move for the right job. It is more the 'being pushed' into specific career paths. Why force me to train as a cardiologist when I really don't want to be a cardiologist? I would be miserable for every day of my life and I would be crap at my job. When I'm older I wouldn't mind working somewhere remote as long as I was doing something I want to do.


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