Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Careers

Are you about to start as a preregistration house officer?

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 01 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:0106194
  1. Ian Urmston, senior marketing executive1
  1. 1BMA

Ian Urmston from the BMA tells you everything you need to know about conditions and contracts

It's late July 2001 - most newspaper columnists have warned their readers to avoid hospital for the next six weeks - but you have finally made it! A new house of brand new doctors is waiting to cram as many text and reference books into their white coat pockets, sling a new stethoscope around their necks, and, most visibly, pin their “Dr” name badge on a lapel. On your first day as a preregistration house officer you will be given a final defining accessory - a bleep. The only practical advice, as a lay person, I can pass on about bleeps is this. Contain your excitement. It will, I am assured, be shortlived. Your understandable enthusiasm about starting out on your career will wane as the bleep begins to take control of your life.

It will not be news to you that house officers work hard. You will have plenty on your mind in respect of caring for your patients and impressing them and your senior colleagues with your ability and knowledge. To add to this burden you will also be an employee and this status brings with it responsibilities and rights far removed from your role as a clinician and something, perhaps, you are even less prepared for.

Preregistration house officer (PRHO) jobs

PRHO jobs are meant to be primarily educational. You will, however, be providing services to your employer. House physicians or surgeons are salaried and contracted to an NHS trust and, as such, a contract with terms and conditions of service will apply to you. The BMA has negotiated a national contract for junior doctors and your post should reflect this. Details are available on the BMA website ( under the junior doctors link. Trusts are …

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