Junior doctors ‘tired and unappreciated’ by bosses

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 July 2016

Public Health England is investigating.

Public Health England is investigating.

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Junior doctors at Weston General Hospital say a lack of funding and staff shortages is tempting them to move overseas to work.

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Ten junior doctors spoke to the Mercury about life at the hospital in Weston-super-Mare and what they see as the major difficulties facing the profession.

The doctors, who wished to remain anonymous, have all worked at the hospital for between one and three years and all agreed there is room for improvement.

Several of the medics said Weston’s hospital fared badly when compared to others they have worked at.

Nine of the 10 also told us they had considered moving abroad to work.

When asked what they would change about the NHS, several of the doctors said they would ‘reduce the bureaucracy’ to have more time on the ground speaking to patients and their families.

One doctor said: “I wish we could spend more time with the patients.”

The doctors also said they were concerned about the lack of staff, and one doctor told the Mercury: “We are so short-staffed most of the time.”

While another said: “If I had the power to change one thing about the NHS I would make sure there were adequate staffing levels for doctors and nurses.”

Other medics said they would like to see ‘increased funding’ for the NHS ‘to improve quality of service we can provide’.

And one doctor said the management system needs changing, as top bosses do not understand the day-to-day issues doctors face.

He said: “I would like to see an NHS where management involved medical staff in decisions such as staffing and where funds should be allocated.”

When asked how many hours they are contracted to work, most said about 45 hours a week, but nearly all said they regularly work between five and 10 hours more than their contracted hours. They also shifts could last up to 15 hours.

Nick Lyons, medical director at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, said: “Our own feedback channels also show many doctors providing positive feedback – though we do understand their job is not an easy one.”

The medics who spoke to the Mercury all went on strike several times between December and April over the new contract, which would have forced doctors to work more evenings and weekends. The British Medical Association (BMA) said this would lead to doctors working long shifts without breaks.

In May, the BMA re-entered negotiations with the Government and agreed on a new contract, which was accepted by doctors earlier this month.

One doctor told the Mercury the contract, before it had been renegotiated, would ‘stretch an already over-stretched system’ and cause ‘poorly coordinated healthcare’.

Mr Lyons said: “We also recognise that the industrial action situation was very challenging for our junior doctors and some of the feedback, taken in the midst of the strikes, may reflect those national concerns.”

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