Posted 16/02/2016, original link: http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Opinion/2016-02-16/why_it_now_sucks_to_be_a_med_student.html
Well done you did it! You got accepted onto the Medicine degree you’d been hoping for – surely all the hard work will mean once you finish you’ll be rewarded with a good life.
After all NHS is one of Britain’s most famous brands and is an international hallmark of the post-World War 2 establishment.
Jeremy Hunt, however, begs to differ. On the 10th February he decided to force his new contract for Junior Doctors onto the NHS after months of negotiation with the BMA failed.
Last week doctors walked out of their jobs in protest as part of the third national strike against the contract.
This led Mr. Hunt – the Conservative Health Secretary – to decide that the best course of action would be to impose the contract upon the NHS, which was met with immediate scorn from across the political spectrum.
When the contract is imposed on hospitals in August the conditions of Junior Doctors will become deplorable.
Saturday will be seen as a normal working day, working till 10pm will be classed as ‘normal hours’ andall this comes at a time where NHS staff are already beginning to feel the strain put on them by the Tories devastating cuts.
One Junior Doctor told me how he currently gets paid to work 9am to 5pm, but in reality he works 8:30am to 7pm and sometimes stays as late as 9pm.
The 25-year-old first year Junior said to me that if he took the actual hours he worked into account he’d be earning around £9 an hour – just over a quid more than you earn at Tesco.
The contract is also aiming to remove many of the safeguards that stop hospitals from overworking their already overworked Juniors. Working nights and weekends are going to shift from being viewed as extraordinary to just plain ordinary.
My friend described to me the horrors of working a night shift (which is 9pm-9am): “Once you hit three or four o’clock and you haven’t had time to eat or drink, you occasionally just get this moment where it’s just like you have to take a second because you’re fucked.”
For someone who’s in charge of someone else’s life, they should not be in that situation.
But instead of working to improve this situation, under the new contract, it is only going to get worse.
I was told of the ‘post-nights hangover’ where you feel sick, get acid refluxes and just generally feel like rubbish for two or three days after, but you’re still required to go back to work after just one days rest.
So for you medicine students out their looking forward to the rewards of being a fully qualified doctor you’ve got up to ten years of low pay and hard hours ahead of you if Hunt gets his way!
And you thought your degree was hard.
Don’t worry though if you’re smart enough you can quickly progress through the ranks by passing the £1,000-a-pop exams which reportedly have less than a 25% pass rate.
If you’re reading this and you’re feeling pretty downtrodden about your future prospects and you just want the hard work to end, all is not lost, there are still options available to you.
For starters, you could move abroad, Australia and New Zealand are eager to attract Medicine grads and trainee doctors who have received the benefits of a British education.
However, if you don’t feel like to the other side of the planet in order to be treated with respect, there are still choices you can make.
Even though Mr. Hunt – who by now must have the most commonly mispronounced name in England – is determined to impose the contract, the fight isn’t over.
Hospitals are already declaring that they won’t force the contract on anybody, Labour has been finding numerous loopholes in the wording of the contract and the BMA has quite literally said ‘this means war’.
For the sake of the next generation of British medical professionals, the future of the NHS and the safety of patients we cannot lose hope in defeating this ill-concieved contract and Jeremy Hunt’s attempts to undermine our National Health Service.