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Feature Round Table

How can the NHS become a millennial friendly employer?

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 09 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1095
  1. Gareth Iacobucci, news reporter, The BMJ
  1. giacobucci{at}

With the NHS facing serious recruitment and retention problems, The BMJ hosted a round table at the Nuffield health policy summit asking how the NHS can do more to attract, enthuse, and hold onto young doctors. Gareth Iacobucci reports

The panel

  • Fiona Godlee, editor in chief, The BMJ (chair)

  • Candace Imison, director of policy, Nuffield Trust

  • Bob Klaber, consultant paediatrician and associate medical director, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

  • Claire Lemer, consultant in general paediatrics and service transformation, Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

  • Nishma Manek, GP trainee in London, national medical director’s clinical fellow

  • Clifford Mann, consultant in emergency medicine, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, and national clinical adviser for NHS England’s accident and emergency improvement plan

What are the main reasons for low morale and low retention?

Nishma Manek (NM): Most junior doctors don’t feel particularly valued in their jobs. The NHS doesn’t do the “H” in “HR” very well. I don’t think it necessarily comes down to immense [financial] cost, it comes down to behaviours. You’ve sort of lost the “firm” structure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still create that feeling if you try hard enough.

Claire Lemer (CL): It’s all about creating that sense of team because that’s crucial to managing adversity. One of the crucial things is having really honest open conversations with trainees about what the job as a consultant actually involves: showing people, getting them to shadow you, spending time with you, but also listening to them, finding out what they do outside of medicine and what their hopes and aspirations are.

Clifford Mann (CM): One of the key problems is the mismatch between the workload and the resource to attend to that workload. In the places where the mismatches are greatest fatigue, burnout, and a sense of hopelessness set in.

Bob Klaber (BK): I …

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