Saturday, June 03, 2006

Morale Misery

A friend currently undertaking Medical Finals has just received a letter informing her that her bankrupt NHS Trust can only afford to pay her Band 1a for her Foundation 1 post, beginning in August.

Band 1a is to the tune of £21,000. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of debt a typical medical student might accumulate during their training. With the implementation of tuition fees, the abolition of grants, fewer jobs for junior doctors, a new and flawed application scheme and six years of training, its a small wonder that anybody applies to medical school at all.

On the other hand, this Times Money article features a friend - in a similar F1 post - whose NHS Trust can afford to pay her £29,000; eight thousand pounds more. [The Trust is on the outskirts of London - and thus less desireable to some].

The inequality amongst house jobs is quite staggering, and with the new Multi-Deanery Application Process proving a lottery for jobs, morale is low amongst students.

This is hardly the type of letter I'd want to receive during the biggest exams of any medical student's life. The Government need to think strongly about how their decisions are affecting our lives, or we might see some worrying trends in the future.

2 comments:

S said...

Was your friend aware that band 1a may carry fewer hours/ responsibility than other posts? There was a band 3 job in Kingston a few years back, but I believe this was taken off the scheme.

Paying closer attention when the jobs come our way may be prudent.

I personally think your friends comparatively well out of the Hemel jobs - they got to stay together as a couple in low-rent accomodation, getting paid a decent amount to work relatively near London and have access to it's benefits. They've also missed out on the top tax bracket, which has allowed them to save more than someone on a higher banding.

I can see why your friends are annoyed though; they've studied for six years and not got paid on 'real terms' with their mates in equally demanding professions. Being forced to choose between paying off debts and living in comfort isn't an enviable choice. Thankfully, things will ease up as they get further up the greasy pole.

aj said...

So now, after our briefing on Monday, more misery unfolds. The MDAP application form, formerly assessing leadership, teamwork and GMC Doctor guideline interpretation among others (see http://www.medical-student.co.uk/issues/current/files/March2006Page%206.pdf), now becomes 40% of this year's form. The other 60% will be assessed by our academic performance in the 3rd and 5th years. Our BSc accolades, rather than counting towards the academic side of the form (?) count as 3 points out of about 40 (worth the extra year then) on the non academic side. Oh - and we're all going to be paid Band 1a.

In summary, this year's 'Sorting Hat' works thus (as succintly summed up in our briefing by a colleague): We apply to a Foundation School (a.k.a. a deanery), on the basis of the form. Then, by a process that hasn't been decided yet, we are allocated to jobs that we would have previously ranked. One cannot turn down or swap jobs - you get what you're given. Oh, and we are not entitled to find out which consultant, how much pay or what the hours are until we've agreed to the job.

So let me get this straight... not only do we end up with a stack of debt, we're now going to be paid about £5000 less. Did I hear that GPs salaries are on the increase?