Comment on the New Medical Schools. How will continuity of care improve?

Letters in the Times 22nd March 2018.

Image result for med student cartoon

Sir, Further to the announcement of the creation of five new medical schools (report, Mar 20, and letter, Mar 21), training more doctors in “places where doctor shortages are greatest” shows a lack of understanding by the health secretary and the Department of Health. Medical staff move around while they train; good medical/surgical experience transcends environment when the staff are valued. (Five New Medical Schools: better late than never)

More than one third of medical graduates, laden with debt, now leave the NHS either to work abroad or for other careers within three years of qualifying. This is a vast change. The medical system that provided mentor support and a sense of belonging between consultant and junior doctors has been destroyed by the European working time directive and the introduction of a shift system.

The contracted training scheme introduced by Kenneth Calman, the chief medical officer, in 1996 with no guarantee of future employment encouraged many of those who were well qualified not to wait until unemployment loomed but to jump before they were pushed. The enforced new contract by Jeremy Hunt has been the last straw for my younger colleagues and also some towards the end of their careers.

The appraisal and revalidation system for doctors introduced after the Harold Shipman affair is regarded by my colleagues as a complete waste of time and a further burden on a strained workforce. The GMC has meekly accepted all this and indeed has helped to inflict early retirement on those who wish to avoid this bureaucracy, leading to a huge loss of medical experience and expertise.
Professor Colin G Fink
Clinical microbiologist, University of Warwick

Sir, Your report that five new medical schools are to open in the next two years to train 1,500 more doctors a year indicates that the government has misunderstood the issues facing the health service. The solution is to make the doctors who are already being trained want to stay and work in the NHS for their whole career. The money earmarked for the new medical schools should be spent on improving existing resources and to support NHS staff.
Gill Lewis
Retired consultant anaesthetist, Solihull, W Midlands

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About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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