I am a junior doctor and I love my job, but all my colleagues are leaving. The NHS is suffering, and suffering badly. Ignoring the concerns of doctors means ignoring the health of our own nation. It is not surprising that there is a new vote on industrial action – which will see young doctors go on strike for 72 hours in March if they are successful.
I left medical school a little over four years ago. Back then, the NHS was in jeopardy, but goodwill, unpaid overtime and the incredible strength of its staff seemed to keep it afloat. My college friends and I were excited to start life as qualified physicians.
Of course, we had heard horror stories about the long hours, grueling and grueling night shifts, high rates of staff burnout, and the extraordinary pressure of treating multiple sick patients at the same time.
Nonetheless, we were optimistic for the culmination of six grueling years in medical school: finally being allowed to hang our stethoscopes around our necks, wearing “staff” badges instead of “student” ones, finally being officially called “doctors”. ”.
Fast forward to today, and the situation is very different. Several of those I graduated with have now left the NHS. The hope you felt as a student has really been replaced by fear, stress, and exhaustion.
Not only this: every week in the wards I meet medical students who are brilliant and compassionate, empathetic and kind. But when I ask them what specialty they want to pursue once they qualify, they pause and tell me that what they really want to do is get out of medicine altogether as soon as they can. “We have heard about everything, we have seen it with our eyes. We cannot work like this, nobody can”. The excitement of becoming a doctor has really worn off.
The reason is that these medical students see what all health professionals see: the complete and utter capitulation of the NHS.
patients stuck all night in ambulances outside of A&E, extraordinarily long emergency department timeouts, a single doctor doing the work of several, staff with breakdowns during shifts, patients dying unnecessarily due to lack of beds and space. The list goes on and on.
Is it a surprise that 400 NHS workers Leave weekly? Is it really surprising that 10 per cent of all NHS publications are lying vacant? For many people it may be, but for those who have seen and experienced the state of our healthcare, it is not a surprise at all.
The problems that have culminated in the “tipping point” situation we face today have been the result of years of underfunding and understaffing. The period from 2010 to 2020, for example, saw the lower investment in the NHS during its history. The total number of NHS hospital beds in England has more than a half in the last 30 years, while the number of patients requiring treatment has increased markedly.
Not only has the system been stretched to the point of destruction, but the staff have been terribly neglected. Doctors have suffered 30 percent of real terms pay cut since 2008, and the situation of the rest of the health personnel is similar.
a recent picture highlighted the fact that three doctors, performing a life-saving operation, are paid just £50 an hour between them. These pay statistics are in the context of many healthcare staff often having to work solo multi-person jobs, such is the shortage that exists today.
The decline of the NHS was not inevitable. It came as a result of deliberate political choices, and these choices now threaten the health of all of us and our families.
The optimism that I possessed when I began working as an attending physician has certainly been tested in recent years. When I hear about friends and colleagues who are brilliant, talented, kind people, who are totally broken by their work lives, I feel extremely sad. His departure from the NHS is a loss for all of us.
The government must act, and act fast, to improve working conditions and pay healthcare staff, adequately fund the healthcare service and stop and reverse the sale of NHS infrastructure and beds to private companies.
Without these steps, the health of our own nation is truly at stake.
Dr. Damir Rafi is an attending physician and spokesperson for the campaign organization. all doctors. He is the author of Emergence: The Journey of a Young British Muslim Living in an Age of Extremism, and editor of the Rational Religion blog. He organizes events and youth discussions on topics related to current events and religion.