As junior doctors prepare for an all-out strike, 94 per cent of medical students feel less enthusiastic about working in the NHS
Image: Gary Knight
More than 80 per cent of medical students are more likely to pursue careers outside NHS England as a result of the junior doctors contract, according to new research by the British Medical Association (BMA).
The survey, published to coincide with the BMA’s Medical Student Conference, aimed to ascertain whether the junior doctors dispute had impacted the professional intentions of medical students and their attitudes towards the NHS.
Based on a polling sample of 1,197 of the BMA’s student members, the research found that as a result of the junior doctors contract being imposed:
- 82.4 per cent are less likely to pursue a medical career in NHS England.
- 82.9 per cent are more likely to pursue a medical career outside the UK
- 34.3 per cent are less likely to pursue a medical career at all
Asked about their feelings towards the imposition of the contract, 94 per cent said it has made them less enthusiastic about working in the NHS and 81.8 per cent said they considered the NHS a less inclusive employer as a result of the contract.
‘The feedback reveals the extent to which many medical students in England are deeply concerned about the Government’s plans to impose a new contract on new junior doctors,’ said Harrison Carter, BMA medical students committee co-chair.
He added that the findings indicate ‘how far ministers have eroded the trust of those wanting to pursue a carer in medicine.’
Next week, junior doctors are scheduled to undertake their first ever all-out strike. A representative of the junior doctors wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this week, making it clear that if the government lifts its imposition of the contract, the strike will be called off.
The Independent reports that junior doctors have also written to Michelle Obama asking for her support as she accompanies her husband on a two-day visit to the UK.
They express hope that Mrs Obama, as ‘a strong advocate for equality and healthcare’ will raise the situation with David Cameron, writing:
“One distressing aspect of the new contract is its discriminatory nature. Our government’s own assessment of the contract acknowledges that doctors who are women, single parents, carers or disabled are all discriminated against.”
The government’s Equality Impact Assessment has found that the new contract will disproportionately affect women doctors, creating an increased gender pay gap in medicine.
While acknowledging that the contract would have adverse effects for certain groups, the Department of Health maintains that ‘such an effect does not result in discrimination as the new contract is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’
Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Find her on Twitter.
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