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Reform Magazine | October 15, 2018

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I am… a junior doctor

I am… a junior doctor

Melody Redman shares the reality of life as a junior doctor

As everyone is aware, the NHS is under massive pressure. Being a doctor, and as a Christian, I want to deliver the best care for every patient but the situation in the NHS makes it really difficult. It can be hard to take breaks but resting is an important part of being able to deliver high quality care. I work in children’s medicine. One of the main challenges is making sure every child feels valued. To do that you have to give them the time they deserve, and that’s difficult with everything that’s going on.

You leave when everything’s finished and it’s safe to do so, which means you don’t necessarily leave on time. When you get home, you may have other things to do like maintain your portfolio,prepare a teaching session, or revise for a membership exam. Some people would say that it’s possible to switch off when you finish, but for me it isn’t.

Morale in the NHS has been low for quite some time. During the junior doctors’ contract dispute of 2016, the main issue was our concern about the impact it would have on our ability to deliver good patient care. We chanted, ‘Not safe, not fair’ and campaigned, and despite some improvements to the final version of the contract, the government introduced it without the agreement of doctors. It left an already struggling workforce feeling very undervalued and further demoralised.

This made existing recruitment and retention problems even worse, both with doctors and nursing staff. I have colleagues who have left the NHS, some who have gone to Australia or New Zealand for a different experience of healthcare. I have colleagues who have taken time off or left the profession due to stress, because the pressures on the NHS do not allow you to be as good a doctor as you want to be. Once there’s a rota gap that means more pressure on the remaining people, and that has an impact on patient care…

Melody Redman is a junior doctor. She was talking to Stephen Tomkins

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the May 2018 edition of  Reform

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