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Diary of an FY2 – Continue?

February 11, 2016

I wrote recently about how I’ve set my course for Microbiology. I recently did a Taster Week in the specialty and, even when it was boring (authorising 50 MSU results in a row), I thought, yeah, this is my kind of boring. This is the job I want to do when I grow up.

That would involve two years of Core Medical Training, then 5~6 years in Combined Infection Training. Now I’m more than halfway through FY2, I’ve applied for CMT and I’ve a date for an interview that will hopefully secure my future for the next two years.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and the BMA have spent the last 6 months arguing over a new contract for junior doctors. I’m not going to get into the details (There’s already been far too much written about it, including my own poorly-written hot-take). In short, the DoH proposed a increased basic rate of pay, but cuts to the premium paid for working nights and weekends. There’s more (a lot more!) but that’s the basic jist.

The arguments have flown back and forth, including two days of strike action by junior doctors. And today, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, has had enough. He’s gone nuclear and decided to impose a new contract on junior doctors.

Do I think this contract is better than my current contract? Nope.

Do I think this contract will be good for my training and professional development? Nope.

Do I think that negotiations for a better deal had been exhausted? Nope.

But that’s the thing about the Health Secretary. He doesn’t care what people like me think.

The reaction among junior doctors on Twitter is akin to having Norovirus – the reaction has been immediate, profound and distressing. I’ve seen people saying, that’s it, they quit, or they’ll refuse to sign the contract when they next rotate jobs. I’ve seen people say they’re off for Australia, New Zealand or Canada now. According to one survey, 90% of junior doctors are going to leave…



The promised land?

Even if only a fraction of these tweeps follow through, that’s going to stretch the hospital doctors left. We’re already plagued by rota gaps and questionable levels of staffing as it is. Whatever happens, I predict August will not be fun.

But August is 6 months away! That’s a long time in medicine and in politics. It might be cliche but though the battle is over, the war is not. Let’s see what the BMA and the junior doctors do next.


So where do I go now?

I could quit right now. And punish the junior doctors left in Worthwhile General with a rota stretched even further, for a contract they didn’t impose. Nope, that’s not my style.

I could emigrate. I envy those with the self-confidence and bravery to up sticks to pastures green. Selfishly, too much of my life is here – including my fiancee.

I could leave medicine in August. I wouldn’t be leaving any colleagues in the lurch. I could stay in the same country as my friends and family. And do what? It’s a scary option…but it’s not like I’m unqualified. I do have two degrees and I can nail an ABG at 3am. I don’t know what I’d do but I’m smart – I’d think of something.

Or I could carry on. Fingers crossed, I get a CMT post. Two more years as an SHO, then the great leapt forward into Combined Infection Training. All under the doubtful auspices of the new contract. It would be a brave new world…but some things would stay the same. There would be patients, every one unique, often surprisingly so, and I might be able to make them better, if I’m smart and lucky. And hopefully, there will be other SHOs (providing I’m not the only doctor left in the country) to work with, share with, laugh with. There will be FY1s and medical students to teach, to keep them from repeating my mistakes, while letting them make their own.

I enjoy medicine. I think I’ll keep doing it for now. There’s likely stormy seas ahead with the new contract but I’m not ready to jump ship just yet. Until then, I remain a doctor.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. SigmundTasty permalink
    February 11, 2016 5:38 pm

    Or….come do psych. Excellent post as per, old chap.

  2. February 11, 2016 10:56 pm

    Or you could always come across the border to Wales –
    Mark Drakeford would welcome you with open arms !

    In fact come one, come all – the more Doctors – the better….


  1. Diary of an FY2 – We Regret | Quinnfeld

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