Medicine 'a bad job' say gloomy doctors

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Doctors' Career and Morale

Morale among doctors has sunk so low that most would not recommend a career in medicine to friends or family, a groundbreaking Hospital Doctor/Medix survey reveals.

The survey on morale and NHS reform received responses from over 1,400 doctors and reveals widespread discontent. Just 2% of doctors rated their morale at work as 'excellent', with the majority (54%) saying that it was 'poor' or 'terrible'. More than two-thirds said their morale had worsened in the past year. And more than two-thirds (69%) said they would not recommend people joining the profession.

Stephen Campion, chief executive of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, said he was 'saddened' by the results. He said: 'Traditionally, many doctors have followed in their parents' footsteps and increasingly we are hearing doctors saying they wished they hadn't recommended a career in medicine to their children. This is indicative of the extreme frustration and low morale hospital doctors are feeling.'

Doctors responding to the survey echoed these views. One doctor said: 'As more hospitals try to balance books by sacking staff, the remaining staff are having to pick up the slack, resulting in more mistakes being made. Morale is at an all time low and getting worse.'

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Asked how NHS reform had affected morale, 47% said they were unhappy about the reconfiguration of hospital services, in which the DoH plans to centralise hospitals and move services into the community.

'Cost-cutting turnaround programmes have been disastrous for morale. Staff have been turned against each other,' said one respondent.

More than half (63%) said changing workload had damaged morale. But the Working Time Direc-tive has made little impact on the morale of the majority of doctors. And the recent pay award had made little difference to happiness, with 42% saying morale was unchanged.

MTAS fiasco adds to woes

Almost half of doctors surveyed described morale among junior doctors at their trust as 'terrible' since the introduction of the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS). One doctor spoke of how it was robbing doctors of self-governance: 'In a disarmingly subtle way, MTAS has completely de-professionalised medicine. Although it is doctors carrying out shortlisting and interviewing, the criteria is centrally set, so it could, in fact, be anyone.'

Another respondent said: 'MTAS...

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