Independent review on Junior Doctors wellbeing cancelled
Professor Dame Sue Bailey of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) released a statement on their website last week after the Junior Doctors Contract Agreement had been announced, stating that they were not going to proceed with the independent review, originally ordered by Jeremy Hunt during the last 6 months of strike action.
‘As part of the welcome agreement between the Government and the BMA on the junior doctors contract, new measures were agreed to help improve the working conditions and quality of life of junior doctors.
As a consequence of these measures it was agreed not, at this time, to take forward the review into junior doctors well-being which I had been asked to conduct. The preliminary work that I have already undertaken will be incorporated into these wider measures. I will, of course, be very happy to play any part in that process
‘I do believe it is important that we do not lose sight of addressing these wider underlying and cultural issues which impact on the well-being of junior doctors as we have consistently argued.’
It is not clear whether cancelling this review was part of the agreement and who requested it, despite rumours surfacing that it may have been the BMA.
The current agreement does not indicate any specific plans to protect the wellbeing for junior doctors, however mentions some measures which may allow more flexibility and working time protection. It is yet to be determined whether there will be specific provisions in the Junior Doctor contract for this, which is due to be released at the end of this month.
We can only question whether the bodies have overlooked the likelihood that morale was a deepening wound before the changes to the contract was announced.
Simply changing a contract is less likely to encourage that wound to heal.
Nevertheless, an open discussion on the mental health of arranged by the Practitioner Health Programme – ‘Restoring Health in the NHS’ is arranged for Friday 24th June to explore what can be done to keep the NHS healthy.
The wellbeing of the NHS and of junior doctors is at the hands of .. who? Is anyone going to take definitive responsibility for it? This is yet to be determined..