Friday, February 20, 2015


It's actually Helgi's fault. Yep, pure and simple- a chap otherwise known as @traumagasdoc on twitter. He got me started when we discussed whether things got better in Medicine- and to be honest,reminiscing...would I do it again..yep, without a doubt- and Helgi as ever, eloquently put his thoughts down

So here's my tuppence worth. I was a House officer, then a Senior House Officer for nearly 3 years then became a Specialist Registrar for 5 years- with 2 years added on doing research- and you know what? It's been quite a ride. I am not going to get sucked into those puerile debates about "in my days"- I interact with juniors enough to know that the fire of dedication, the urge to work hard and do good is exactly in the same proportion as we had in "our days". It's not their fault if hours have changed,training have shortened- within those limitations, all junior docs are as hard working as ever or at least the proportion in't any different. Do they moan more? Well- its more public now- why? Because we have social media- on twitter, in 140 characters, you can offload your angst, grief, frustration - which to many may seem like moaning. To the bystanders, I was no different. We used to do it in a pub, among friends, complain about the system- the opportunity for it being public simply wasn't there. If there was, would it be any different from now? Probably not.

So many folks I worked with- whether it be Azman when I was a clinical observer, John when I was a House Officer, Aparna,Kate,Ros, Matt,Paul,Jeremy,James when I was an SHO...they were all good fun- hard working, dedicated folks who have now become GPs, Consultants- and are the same folks I knew that many years back. Life was tough, pay was..heck..that certainly wasn't great - (anyone remember those Additional Duty Hours??) but I suspect we all knew where we were heading to. Being a Registrar was tough- and none more so than being the Medical Registrar on call. Consultant coverage was a rare beast, you were pretty much the last vanguard- whether it be the wards or on calls- it was tough, referrals were rubbish, but you worked, you had fun, sometimes lost your cool- but in general, worked your time. The pay was better- while the world kept changing. We probably weren't as politically aware as the present generation started to hear vague terms such as PCTs- what was noticeable was the contract changing,

And life was fun- there was a sort of a trench mentality I suppose due to the hours etc- but most of all, the concept of a team was ingrained. There was friendly banter between specialists but heck those were the days before everyone cherry picked their thing. Cardiology had just started their campaign to prove how special they were- and as thrombolysis improved, we watched with bated breath as Medicine evolved.

Then I became a Consultant- and what can I say? It gets better since your junior days. You hear that pay could be better- I don't know- I feel its actually pretty good. If in doubt, use this tool..go on, check it yourself- maybe get some perspective when compared to the UK. If you fancy a small flutter of your socialist heart, see where you stand with respect to the world. Interesting, isn't it? Working hours are good- am on a 11.5 PA contract for my trust- thats 46 hours- ok so I work more than that- but heck, clocking in and clocking out isnt why I took this profession up.

I can't speak for others. I am not a GP, I am not a Acute physician, I am a Diabetologist- because that's what I chose to be. The pension is good- and in fact most finance advisers would, still, advise you to stick in spite of all changes made. The weekends are few and far between. I go to work, have amazing colleagues in the department- of course there are ups and downs- that's life. The NHS is under pressure- I would expect to be put under pressure too but if I take a step back, sorry- I can't pretend life is bad or even life is ok. Life is actually quite nice...I do the job I love, the job I wanted and while doing that, I try to smile and give the patients the expertise I have been taught. I know others will disagree and tell you how rubbish life can be- but having worked in other health systems? No- its not bad at all.

So guys and gals, its actually ok. Yes, there's a lot of negativity and no I am not saying being a Consultant is about skipping over a rainbow chilling on top of a unicorn either. All I am saying is that I appreciate you all put in a lot of hard work and effort. Stick to it- and if it means anything, Medicine does get better. There are ups and downs, there are frustrations but in the main? It ain't bad. Don't leave as for starters we all need you and more importantly? You would have missed out on the best time which you have worked so hard for.


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