From the Daily Telegraph
Patrick is a junior doctor, but he’s not some pimple-faced new medical school graduate. At 33, he is a neurosurgery registrar at a leading hospital with eight and a half years’ experience and more than 1,200 brain operations under his belt.
For his expertise and his many years of medical training, he is paid the whopping great sum of… £39,000 a year. That is his basic wage, but on top of that he can earn another £13,000 or so for working unsociable hours at night and at weekends. Not that this is a choice, mind; it is required under his contract.
The medical world loves to use fancy words where a simpler one would suffice. I suspect to create some mystique and this is no different. "Registrar" is a fancy word for "trainee". When he gets through being a trainee, he'll be on something closer to £100K a year salary. That's for life, guaranteed job, nice pension. In some parts of the country, that makes you super rich.
So, on the first weekend of this year, while the rest of the country was sleeping off its New Year’s Eve hangover, Patrick started work at 8am on the Saturday and he finished his shift at midday on the Monday, 52 hours later.
During that time he was able to grab a luxuriously indulgent four hours of broken sleep but otherwise survived on copious amount of coffee.
OK, I'm calling bullshit on this. When I was younger than this guy, I used to pull the occasional all-nighter. A critical system failure had occurred and it was all hands to the pump. So, I went from 9am right through to the next 9am and beyond. I even tried to do a full day the next day. At about 3pm, I fell asleep at my desk. And yes, I was well caffeinated, but that just stops working after a while. You can only hit a certain level of caffeine before your body starts reacting to it, plus, you're pissing it out during the day. You can even try seriously loading up on caffeine, like drinking triple espressos, but then you start shaking and feeling ill (tried it).
I learnt that you pull the all-nighter, you get it fixed and then you get a cab to drop you home.
I can believe that someone had a couple of short nights... 4 or 5 hours sleep a night, but 2 nights of 2 hours a night? You'd be dysfunctional after the second one.
“We feel like we are being treated as the problem,” he says. “The assumption from Jeremy Hunt is that we don’t already work those hours, when we do. I already work regular weekends and nights; I worked over Christmas and over New Year. All Jeremy Hunt is offering is more unsociable hours for less pay.”
Well, yes. He is.
Patrick, like many doctors, is also sceptical of the Government’s claims that it is a lack of medical staff on duty on Saturdays and Sundays which is behind the higher death rate for patients admitted to hospital at weekends than on weekdays.
“We admit all the sickest people at the weekends – that’s why the mortality rate is so much higher,” he explains. “No one goes into hospital at the weekend who isn’t already very ill.”
That's a report that was co-authored by a far more experienced surgeon than him, Sir Bruce Keogh, so he might want to look into that.
Patrick says he personally could never consider leaving medicine – “I couldn’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile with my day” – but not everyone feels the same. Indeed, the NHS is haemorrhaging highly trained professionals every day.
Many of Patrick’s medical student friends and colleagues have either left Britain to work abroad or joined pharmaceutical companies on double the pay for family-friendly nine-to-five hours. Their skills and expertise, funded at great cost by British taxpayers, are now lost to the NHS forever.
Bullshit. First of all, almost no-one is leaving the country. The Daily Mail's scare story about this quoted figures of 3000 a year, up 1/5th on figures from 2008. So, 600 doctors, compared to 2008. Out of 174,000. Not exactly "haemorrhaging ". As for "pharmaceutical companies", that's probably a good thing. It's much cheaper to treat patients with drugs than surgery and so moving doctors from one to the other is good. I don't really care if they're "lost to the NHS". All that matters is if their training isn't being used for us.
The problem in this story, to me, is that it's basically an upper middle class strike, and this is just a rallying cry by another member of the upper middle class. I suspect that Jeremy Hunt knows what he's doing. Medicine is massively oversubscribed, gets nothing less than people with 4 As at A level (and I really doubt we need the elite students for the mundane shit that most GPs do). So he figures maybe they're overpaid and can cut pay, especially at the junior level.
Thursday, 14 January 2016
From the Daily Telegraph
My latest blogpost: I'm not Really Buying ThisTweet this! Posted by The Stigler at 09:13