Urgent Changes Needed to Improve Junior Doctors' Welfare: BMA

Neil Pooran

October 04, 2021

Urgent changes are needed to improve the welfare of junior doctors, leaders in the profession say, after a survey highlighted concerns about working conditions.

A British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland survey found 75% of junior doctors felt exhausted or tired at work after four consecutive long shifts – with a long shift defined as 10 hours or more.

About half of those who responded to the survey said their current rota contained at least four consecutive long shifts.

Some 71% said they did not feel supported by their employer in relation to their wellbeing.

The survey forms part of a report into the long-term future of the medical workforce.

Burnout

Alisdair Gilmour, chair of the BMA's Scottish junior doctors committee, said: "Even before the COVID-19 pandemic BMA Scotland had already reported that junior doctors in Scotland were under pressure and concerns were growing for their wellbeing and work-life balance.

"They were at risk of burnout from very early on in their careers and urgent action was needed to improve their working lives.

"Life during the pandemic has only amplified this and many junior doctors are considering how their work impacts upon their personal lives and whether they are able to achieve the work-life balance they need.

"Working conditions need to improve and junior doctors need to feel valued by both their employer and the Scottish Government alike.

"It is deeply concerning that almost three quarters of those who responded to our snap survey do not feel supported by their employer when it comes to their wellbeing, and that must be addressed urgently."

Serious Consideration

The Scottish Government said it would give serious consideration to the points raised in the report.

A spokeswoman said: "Looking after our NHS staff is vital for their own wellbeing, but also for that of their patients.

"We have so far allocated £8m for wellbeing support for the health and care workforce in 2021/22, an increase of £3m on 2020/21.

"We welcome this report from the British Medical Association.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has put the NHS under more strain than ever before and we are all indebted to junior doctors and everyone who works in our health service."

This article contains information from PA Media.

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