Filming the foundation yearsBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1843 (Published 23 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1843
All rapid responses
I watched the recent BBC3 series with interest and agree with many of
the observations and conclusions of Mirza1. I realise that training does
vary across the country, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level but
do "placements" last 3 months - I thought it was 4 or 6; do doctors always
"swap jobs" to work on the Acute admission ward or are they merely on
call. The commentary more often referred to every patient as critically
ill when they were not. But of most concern to me was the image it
portrayed of junior doctors, and the profession as a whole.
I thought that some of the group, especially Suzy really showed
compassion, interest, professionalism and most importantly seemed
competent to do the job. Contrast that to some of the other members who
did not realise that F1 was about doing the dogs body jobs, filling in
paper work and as the person put it "being the ward bitch". This raises
serious questions about his training as a student if he did not get
sufficient exposure to see how an F1 works and what day to day life is
about. Some of the comments used would certainly attract complaints in
most arenas, and the throw away line about "I've got to keep the black
pudding factory going" really creating an image of contempt and arrogance.
I can understand that as newly qualified doctors they were under pressure,
and maybe the camerawork was heavily edited but surely it should not be
taking 90 minutes to clerk patients after a month on the job, especially
considering that OSCE's normally last 8 minutes a station!
I also found the attitudes expressed towards Palliative Medicine in
the final programme particularly inaccurate, rather stereotypical and
damaging to the speciality, and medicine. The constant use of TLC and keep
them comfortable, coupled with the repeated definition of Palliative Care
of a service offered, or tagged onto patients' when "nothing can be done"
is archaic. If that is not the case I have been wasting the last 4 months
caring for chronic heart failure patients, COPD patients, MND patients and
even Cancer patients who are still alive, enjoying life and have benefited
from palliative care.
I wasn't expecting a boring,dry documentary series but I was
expecting a more realistic, positive image of junior doctors and medicine
as a profession. My lay friends certainly don't think this is the case and
have asked me several times after watching the series " Are you really
that bad, slow, rude etc.. I hope I'm not.
1.Mirza Y. Views and Reviews. Filming the foundation Years. BMJ 2011
Competing interests: No competing interests