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A Dose of Doctors

July 24, 2017 6:29 PM

Anita DayOur younger daughter graduated from medical school in Nottingham last week. It was a wonderful day. The sun shone, the refreshments flowed and it was lovely celebrating their achievements with her 8 closest friends and their families whom we've got to know over the past five years. And theirs is an achievement to be proud of. This small group- a mixture of sexes, nationalities, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and orientations-have supported each other through, not only their challenging training, but life-threatening/life-changing illnesses, family traumas & deaths, and existential & emotional crises…. and have emerged as a 'band of brothers' who you feel will be friends for life. At least I hope so. As I watched each of them go up on stage to collect their diplomas, I felt very emotional and proud of them all, for each of them had ridden their personal rollercoasters of hard work and fun, despair and elation, fear.. and eventually a sense of accomplishment.

But I also worried for them. These are bright, young, enthusiastic doctors with dreams for the future… some wish to become orthopaedic surgeons, some anaesthetists or cardiologists or oncologists, some GPs. All of them remain as passionate about their vocation as they were on their first day of medical school, and just as passionate about the NHS and their future places in it. But how long will that last?

They - and their 300 colleagues who graduated that day in Nottingham, and the thousands of others who graduated across the country - are the first doctors to have paid £9,000 tuition fees and will typically start their working lives with debt of £50,000+, which will make paying for their first mortgages hard.

They have been forced to sign Jeremy Hunt's infamous junior doctors' contracts, including, in many cases, giving up their rights under the EU Working Time Directive to a 48 hr working week. These young, inexperienced doctors will face the stress of sometimes being left to manage whole wards alone on night shifts with limited backup, and on too little sleep.

They begin their careers at a time when the NHS is in crisis - one ignored by the Tory government which seem to think that parroting the same old lines about their investment levels somehow negates the reality for everyone who works in, or uses, the NHS - and with a persistent suspicion that back-door privatisation is their true plan.

I heard two chilling comments whilst talking to local doctors recently. The first was from a GP in his forties who said that around half of his friends from medical school had emigrated. The other was from the senior partner in a local GP practice who looked troubled when I mentioned my daughter and said that he was actively discouraging his 12yr old son from following his footsteps because he didn't want him to work in such a 'stressful & awful environment' as the NHS today. I think he felt sorry for her!
So, yes…. I'm worried… for my daughter, her friends.. and our country!

Take care, and speak soon

Anita

PS: If you are interested in any of my previous Postcards, you can find them here: https://southlincslibdems.org.uk/en/page/postcards-from-a-lincolnshire-liberal

Anita A D Day

Membership Development, South Lincs Liberal Democrats
Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Grantham & Stamford
Tel: 07410 709338 / @AnitadayA / FB: Anita.Day.LD