Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

Regarding the lost SHO tribe

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 17 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:s122
  1. Balasubramaniaguhan Vivekanandan, unemployed
  1. bsguhan{at}

The article1 has clearly summarised the current situation at senior house officer (SHO) level even for local graduates, which was there before overseas doctors arrived. But it is saddening that both the Department of Health and the health minister are refusing to accept it. The present situation of unemployment, even for local graduates, seems to have arisen since the beginning of the year. When I was talking to a consultant about it, I was surprised to hear that soon the trend will spill over to staff graduates and consultants, as the number of applications for consultant posts is also increasing. This does seem to be true as a previous BMJ response letter, from a specialist registrar (SpR) who was finding it difficult to get a consultant job, revealed. These two letters suggest the current situation is because of poor planning. We should accept that there is healthy competition, which is good for the system, but it should not lead to unemployment among the highly skilled people who have spent almost six years becoming a house officer. It totally takes away enthusiasm, confidence, and the love of medicine among junior doctors. For overseas doctors it is even worse. With the arrival of Modernising Medical Careers in 2007 there will be a separate category of unemployed SHOs. Will the Department of Health do something or will it leave respected people of society in the lurch?


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