Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf warned half of the junior doctors will quit within next two years
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Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been urged to take action after a recent survey with junior doctors revealed that almost half of them are considering quitting their jobs.
Junior doctors make up 44% of the workforce in NHS and are professionals in clinical training, who are not consultants or GPs.
The survey conducted by BMA Scotland on its junior doctors found that 49.8% of them were considering leaving their jobs in the next two years as current issues in the NHS have left them “demoralised, undervalued and exhausted”.
Dr Lailah Peel, the outgoing chair of the BMA’s Scottish junior doctor committee (SJDC), said it was “incredibly concerning to see these stats laid out in black and white”.
“If the views of the respondents of our survey are representative of the entire junior doctor workforce in Scotland we could be walking into a workforce catastrophe in the next two years,” she explained.
Out of the 320 respondents, 90% said issues and challenges of working as a junior doctor in the health service have lowered their morale in the past year. 52% of them told the survey it has “significantly” lowered their morale.
Dr Peel, who works in an accident and emergency department, warned, “We are already desperately short-staffed – we need more doctors across the entire system from primary care through to the highest levels in secondary care – we cannot afford to lose valuable junior doctors who are the future of our senior workforce.
“Urgent action must be taken to make junior doctors feel valued in their workplace and want to stay in Scotland’s NHS for the majority, if not entirety, of their careers.”
She revealed that after speaking to her colleagues she was made aware of the fact that they were feeling “unappreciated and undervalued”
“There are many factors contributing to this feeling of discontentment among the workforce, but this year’s pay award, which is essentially a pay cut in real terms, certainly hasn’t helped matters and has led to many junior doctors re-evaluating their futures within our NHS,” Dr Peel added.
She suggested that while resolution if income issues was important, “other things the Government can do as quick fixes to make the working lives of junior doctors easier” which includes uninterrupted breaks at work, lockers for the staff to keep their belongings in, and access to hot food while working long-hour shifts.
“If I can make one final plea to the Scottish Government before I stand down as chair of SJDC, it’s this: act now, please. Do something before it’s too late,” she said.
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, said the facts revealed by the survey were “a stark wake-up call for the beleaguered Health Secretary”.
She added, “Our NHS is in the midst of a workforce crisis and every effort must be made to keep medics within the NHS.”