Medicopolitical Digest

Junior doctors' fears for the futureBMA proposes alternative models for the NHSGPs should consider a list of preferred drugsDefence medical services to be halvedMPs question whether performance bill will work

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 06 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1201

Junior doctors' fears for the future

Failling morale among doctors featured widely in the debates at the recent meeting of the BMA's Junior Members Forum. The NHS seems to be attracting more doctors from other European Union states while recruitment in Britain is dropping. One doctor told the forum that 25-30% of the students who graduated with her had gone to Australia, and there were reports of general practitioner vocational training courses being unfilled. The lack of flexible and part time training does not help, particularly for women graduates, who now account for over 50% in most medical schools.

To try to discover future doctors' intentions the BMA is to ask a cohort of final year students what their plans are and to follow them for 10 years.

But it is the lack of progress on the Calman report on specialist medical training that is causing major frustrations, and the meeting condemned the lack of consultant expansion and called on the government for more central funding. “Failure to abide by this commitment must result in the whole profession supporting the juniors in their refusal to continue formal negotiations on the terms and conditions of the unified training grade.”

The forum also resolved that because the overall employment position of doctors in the NHS had deteriorated to such an extent the BMA's health policy unit should investigate alternative ways of employing doctors. “This motion arises out of despair,” one of the Junior Doctors Committee's deputy chairmen, Dr Paul Miller, told the meeting.


The meeting defeated a proposition that charging patients for general practice consultations would encourage a more responsible use of services. According to Dr Jonathan Reggler, who practises in the Oxford region, patients now saw demands and needs as rights, as the government encouraged them to go to their doctor. “We should be bold and think …

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