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Junior doctors' debts in Wales

Junior doctors in Wales could get their student debts paid off under proposals unveiled by Plaid Cymru.

The debts – about £75,000 on average – would be wiped in exchange for a commitment to work in Wales for a number of years. The party said 1,000 extra doctors were needed to boost what it called a “creaking Welsh health service”.

Junior doctors in Wales could get their student debts paid off under proposals unveiled by Plaid Cymru

Wiping debts is part of a series of health policy proposals for consultation by the party. The idea is based on similar schemes elsewhere including one in New Zealand, to encourage doctors to work in hard-to-staff areas. Their student debt is wiped in exchange for a commitment to work in Wales for a set period of time.

Plaid Cymru says a similar scheme was successful in recruiting new dentists when it was in coalition government with Labour. It also wants to increase the number of places at the three medical schools in Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor.

As a short-term solution about 100 doctors from abroad would be recruited to plug specific gaps. The party claimed that if enough new doctors were recruited, there would be less need to centralise some hospital services.

This would result, for example, in every district general hospital being able to keep an accident and emergency department, said Plaid. The party has said previously it would fund more doctors by introducing a tax on sugary drinks. Welsh Labour accused Plaid Cymru of playing “fantasy politics”. Source: BBC

Medical students could face new NHS entry exam

Medical students would have to sit an additional exam to gain entry onto the foundation programme, under new plans.

Medical students may be given a full licence to practise medicine as soon as they graduate

Medical students may be given a full licence to practise medicine as soon as they graduate; however, under new plans they would have to sit an additional exam to gain entry onto the foundation programme that allows them to work for the NHS.

If the proposals from Health Education England go ahead they would signal a major change to the way the NHS recruits and trains junior doctors.

The move is set to lead a change away from what the HEE describes as a current “moral obligation” to give medical students NHS jobs, and instead improve the standard of medics joining the health service. Source: HSJ

Soapbox

Dr Andrew Collier, Co-Chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, reacts to the GMC’s National Training Survey

No-one should have to face being harassed or bullied at work, but sadly a recent survey from the GMC has shown that this is the stark reality for one in ten junior doctors – with two in ten having witnessed it happening. This has to change. Everybody has the right to work in an environment where harassment and bullying are regarded as unacceptable and any incidents arising from such behaviour are not tolerated.

As an F1 I witnessed a senior colleague systematically undermining and belittling his most junior doctors. Most trainees were scared to put their head above the parapet and challenge the unacceptable behaviour for fear it would damage their career.

Thankfully this situation was resolved, but many colleagues have told me that they have experienced similar situations. It is essential therefore that we encourage NHS staff to share their concerns immediately and ensure that those who have the courage to come forward will be taken seriously, dealt with confidentially and have their concerns investigated quickly without risk of victimisation or repercussions.

As well as addressing staff welfare, the GMC’s National Training Survey also made encouraging recommendations for tackling key patient safety challenges highlighted in the Francis report. If we are to truly guarantee patient safety, we must establish a culture where the NHS actively listens to its workforce and acts effectively upon any concerns raised.

We must work together to build an ethos of openness and transparency, whilst encouraging mutual support amongst NHS staff in order to guarantee the safety of patients and the well-being of all those who work in the NHS.

Dr Andrew Collier is Co-Chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee.