The BMJ’s Editor-in-chief, Dr Fiona Godlee, has written to NHS acute trust chief executives in England to ask what they are doing to ensure they are not exploiting and mistreating medical trainees.
It follows an article written by Dr Rachel Clarke and published in The BMJ last week.
In it Dr Clarke, a trainee doctor, writes that despite promises made after the junior doctors dispute last year, some NHS trusts are still treating juniors as if they were expendable: expecting them to start work without a contract or being told what their hours will be or what they will be paid.
Dr Godlee shares her view that this is unacceptable and wasteful of a hugely valuable and scarce resource - medical expertise, enthusiasm, and goodwill.
She is therefore asking all CEOs to say what proportion of their trainee doctors had written contracts, including a confirmed salary and detailed information about hours and rotas, before starting work.
She is also asking them to confirm that none of their trainee doctors are ever expected to find their own locum cover if they are absent from work due to sickness.
Responses will be reported in a subsequent issue of the journal.
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