Many of my colleagues and I have been deeply struck by the recent suicide of a NHS GP trainee Dr James Halcrow who was named the 'Top GP Trainee in the Country'.
Young Dr James Halcrow was a tired, overworked junior doctor and under duress from a GMC investigation with one interviewer asking him if he would drink socially? Since when should the GMC demand total abstinence of doctors? Why abstain from social drinking off duty and in one case asked a doctor for 4 years of total abstinence. He could not lie. He was too honest and could not meet this unreasonable GMC demand. Not even our criminal courts make this a condition.
Anonymous GP Partner 03 Dec 2015 11:48am
My thoughts and prayers with his family.
I was investigated by the GMC and It made me suicidal, the process dragged for 2 years only to be found not guilty. If It was not for my 1 year old son and my pregnant wife at that time, I would have killed myself.
I left the UK and not planning to come back again. Never felt happier and I am enjoying medicine again.
GMC shame on you
To all my colleagues in the UK :
Leave the UK
The status quo is not an option."
1. Find a mentor, a supportive trainer, programme director, associate dean, or even dean, you may ask for advice.
2. Consider part-time or flexible training.
Real life case:
3. Do not automatically accept a police caution.
Real life scenario:
4. Do I become a grey person, blind, deaf and mute and walk on the other side to survive my NHS training?
Please note training doctors do NOT have statutory whistle blowing protection so you may lose your training number and job if you raise concerns regarding patient safety in hospitals.
5. "Voluntary" hours or shifts or "illegal" work which breaches the European Working Time Directive and puts tired doctors at high risk of making mistakes.
If you feel you cannot say NO, then at least insist on internal locum rates or ask for time back. Do NOT work extra hours for NO pay. Bear in mind, under cross examination in a coroner's court investigating the death of a patient due to a tired doctor's mistake, you are expected to have delivered the same professional standards of clinical care whether it is your 1st or 13th hour of work even with no food or break and no HR personnel will stand by your side.
6. Alternative to spending years of training in what may be an oppressive bureaucratic atmosphere run by managers.
"I am currently working in NZ after completing my F2 in the UK last year and with working conditions as they are out here I can't comprehend what it would be like to work under the current proposals back home.
To put it in perspective I have attached the contract which all doctors in NZ are governed by after successful strike action a few years ago.
It's a wordy bastard but the key points relate to: basic pay being far higher than what it would be in the UK, leave which is the employer's responsibility to cover (at additional rates for those cross covering of $150 per day), free meals throughout the day, penalties of overworking up to $1000, agreed fair minimum locum rates, all exams/courses/membership fees paid in full, call back fees for non-resident on calls (minimum $400 per call back and $100 per phone call) and my favourite, section 15.4: 'During the meal break or rest breaks prescribed above, free tea, coffee, milk and sugar shall be supplied by the employing District Health Board'.
Surely the government cannot expect well-educated people to stay, given the opportunities that are easily available elsewhere?!
Keep fighting for the NHS and from all of your colleagues in NZ, we are 100% behind you."
Update December 2015
The BMA conceded and suspended the junior doctors strikes.
Almost half of junior doctors left the NHS after foundation training. No leverage means junior doctors may continue to vote with their feet.
Update January 2016: Junior Doctor Strike is back on!
May your soul find eternal peace and rest, dearest Dr James Halcrow.
On January 12, 2016, tens of thousands of junior doctors formed picket lines across the country to strike for a fair and safe contract to protect the lives of all junior doctors and patients alike. Sadly one hospital called the police on their striking junior doctors and another Sandwell General Hospital attempted to block the strike with declaring a level 4 incident which was not upheld by the BMA.
A national junior doctors strike is a win:win as either it will achieve an actual victory with a fair and safe contract or a moral victory for trying.