Being a junior doctor is intense, rewarding and challenging. Trainees are the future of our profession and the NHS and it is vitally important that they get the support they need to progress and deliver the gold standard care that the NHS is famous for.
However, for many, the challenge of working in an increasingly overstretched NHS is taking its toll. That’s bad for doctors, bad for the NHS and bad for patients.
Intense - Seven in ten junior doctors work on a rota with a permanent gap. Junior doctors commonly go through seven shifts a month without drinking enough water, and four shifts a month without a meal.
Rewarding - 96% of junior doctors feel valued by the patients they care for. But, too much time is spent away from patients - 41% of junior doctors report that an excessive administrative work is a serious risk to patient safety in their hospital.
Challenging - Four in five junior doctors regularly experiences excessive stress because of their job. One in four report that their role has had a serious impact on their mental health.
Between 2013 and 2015, the number of doctor vacancies increased by 60% meaning fewer physicians to care for a growing number of patients who are increasingly older, frailer and present with complex conditions.
The RCP champions a system in which trainees are:
Valued for the care they give to patients and provided with the facilities they need to deliver outstanding care.
Supported in training and education, given the time and space for career planning and allowed the freedom to pursue a life outside of medicine.
Motivated by a culture that respects, develops and engages them fully in ensuring the best care for patient and the future of the NHS.
In November 2016 we published Being a junior doctor: Experiences from the front line of the NHS sets out the findings of a survey trainee doctors and the discussions at a workshop with trainees and senior RCP officers as part of Mission: Health. This report sets out the findings of the RCP’s recent engagement with doctors-in-training and provides recommendations for government and the NHS on how to ensure that trainees are valued for the tremendous work they do.
The RCP is developing an action plan to guide its work with and for junior doctors: our major priority in 2017. We will continue to call on government and hospitals to address the issues affecting junior doctors with the highest priority.
We will also develop guidance and toolkits aimed at managers, consultants and trainees, and promote the implementation of our recommendations across UK hospitals. We will share good practice, and develop new ways of giving our junior doctor members a voice.