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UK’s Junior Doctors Losing Hop

A pall of gloom and associated pessimism hangs thickly over Britain’s junior doctors,// reports show.

It has just been a month since UK’s young doctors took the street in protest of the lack of suitable jobs. This was in spite of most of them having dished out thousands of pounds to train for government programs that would make them eligible for NHS employment. The dearth of jobs, they argue is due to the Department of Health ‘s scheme, the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) having gone horribly wrong.

Yesterday the chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) called for a "cast-iron" guarantee that no junior doctor will lose out as a result of reforms to the training system. According to James Johnson, the careers of thousands of aspiring young doctors could be wrecked by the changes.

Complaints registered over the MTAS include lack of sufficient job choices, computers crashing, non-medically qualified people being involved in short-listed candidates and scant information on qualifications being made available to interviewers.

According to the BMA, latest figures have showed that 34,250 junior doctors throughout the UK are applying for just 18,500 specialist-training posts.

Says Johnson: "It's disgraceful that thousands of our best doctors could have their NHS careers wrecked through no reason other than government mistakes and poor workforce planning. "For the sake of patients who deserve the best possible care, and to ensure an NHS staffed by fully trained doctors, we need solutions that ensure that no-one is forced out of training. "People who have worked for years to follow their ambitions of becoming NHS consultants or GPs cannot be thrown on the scrap heap."

In addition, latest BMA research suggests deep-rooted dissatisfaction with how the NHS is evolving. Asked how the NHS would look in 2017, 94% of young doctors said they thought the role of the private sector woul d grow, with only 15% believing that would benefit patients. Almost half (46%) thought at least 50% of NHS care would be delivered by private companies by 2017 and 15% thought up to 75% of care would be provided that way.

A total of 61% thought it was unlikely that the NHS would continue to be free at the point of use for all patients by 2017 and 83% thought the range of free services offered by the NHS would shrink. Half thought medicine was still a job for life, 48% envisaged leaving the NHS in 10 years' time, with only a third (35%) of those saying that would be through choice.

Says Dr Andrew Thomson, who is chairing the conference: "Doctors fear that current reforms are damaging the NHS beyond repair. We seem to be selling off the service to the highest bidder without considering the legacy for future generations of patients.”

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