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From ward to world

Ward-to-world-Ben-MolyneuxDr Ben Molyneux, BMA Chairman of the Junior Doctor’s Committee, shares his plans for shaping doctors’ training

Thousands of junior doctors took to the wards last month for the first time. This is an exciting, terrifying and exhausting experience for most, and hopefully a time that’s remembered for the right reasons.

Stories of long working weeks, erratic shift patterns and a lack of balance between work and training are commonplace for doctors in training and this is compounded when many starting don’t have the basic information on where they will be working, what duties are required, or even their exact salary.

While the current code of practice that covers the rules for basic information about posts was negotiated by the BMA to ensure junior doctors have this basic information, in reality, this often doesn’t happen as employers flout the rules, making an already stressful time even more difficult.

That’s why it’s essential a new contract for junior doctors starts from the basic terms and conditions of work to end this position of service trumps training and quality of life every time.

Those entering the medical profession know it will be difficult, challenging and impact on a personal life at times, but if we are to be able to put patients first, deliver the best quality care and ensure junior doctors receive the best possible training, we need to address the serious shortcomings in the current system.

This is also crucial if we are to continue to attract the best and brightest to the profession and ensure junior doctors don’t burn out.

Between now and next year, we aim to negotiate a new contract that will cover every aspect of junior doctors’ working lives from pay and hours through to training, rotas and pensions

Between now and next year, we aim to negotiate a new contract that will cover every aspect of junior doctors’ working lives from pay and hours through to training, rotas and pensions. The timescale is tight, and we carry a huge weight of responsibility — for the hundreds of thousands of people who will work to it in its first ten years, and everyone else affected. And as the contract is so intimately related to the quality of patient care we can offer, that everyone else really is ‘everyone’.

We’re committed to ensuring we get the right deal for junior doctors and we want to know what you think so do get in touch with your thoughts. To keep up to date on contract negotiations or contact us about it, visit the BMA website.

Follow Ben on Twitter here – @DrBenMolyneux.