Why the NHS is driving us out: A medic’s view

I was sitting through a lecture when a notification popped up on my phone with news of the imposition hitting our junior doctors. At that moment my heart dropped, thinking that the strikes and negotiations had been for nothing and wondering what the next step would be. Would there be more strikes or would we just give in to the ludicrous demands that had been put forward by our very own Health Secretary?


A number of things rushed through my head at that point, but one thing stuck: Where would I work? I had always thought about leaving the country to go to a less rainy and warmer destination than London, but that was the only reason – weather. It was never because of the NHS.


A medical student in the UK dreams of working in a healthcare system that is free for all – doing an already good deed and giving it out without asking for anything back. But with this new contract I had to rethink this. It is a known fact that doctors are married to their job, they do not have time for anything else because of the long hours of hard work they do. The doctors in the NHS were already overworked and underpaid but this had been accepted as part of the career we had chosen. Things were different now however, in addition to how junior doctors already felt, politicians were promoting and publicizing a 30% decrease in salary as an 11% rise in basic pay, when doctors had never asked for a pay rise anyway. Most hypocritical of all, after the fact that MPs, a day before imposition of junior doctor contracts, received another pay rise, 9 months after their first one! This definitely shot down on the little morale that junior doctors already had.


Junior doctors in the NHS currently feel more underappreciated than ever before and on the day that Jeremy Hunt decided on imposition of contracts, figures show that around 300 people applied for a “Certificate of Good Standing” – a document from the GMC stating that there are no fitness to practice suits against them. This means that 300 doctors, each of whom had been trained using around £300,000 of taxpayer money, took their first step to emigrate out of the country. A loss of £90 million on the day he announced alone.


Jeremy Hunt says that the reason for these contracts is to ensure a 7-day NHS to promote better patient care. What he doesn’t realise is that with these contracts, patient safety is reduced significantly because doctors are going to be more overworked than ever. Whether these contracts are a plot for making more money or a step towards privatization; that is for you to decide. All I know is that I do not want to work for the NHS any more.


Ram Kishan Patel

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