Many final-year medical students across the UK logged into their emails today to discover a message advising them against disputing a controversial new contract. The controversy stems from an increase in sociable hours, reduction in GP pay and the lack of pay protection for maternity leave.
Posted on Twitter, the emails suggest: “a medical degree comes with many opportunities. It would be unwise to put this at risk.”
This comes after hundred of medical students joined senior colleagues at demonstrations in Manchester and London against the new junior doctor contracts.
The contracts have been described by the BMA as: “unsafe and unfair,” a statement which has been supported by the presidents of 11 Royal Colleges, the bodies responsible for regulating medical professions.
Dr Ben Goldacre, author of the best selling books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, tweeted that students from many medical schools had forwarded emails to him. He noted that the emails were in “almost identical language”, and questioned whether they had been coordinated from a central source. So far students from Leicester, Exeter, Bristol, St George’s London, Warwick and Plymouth Medical Schools have received the messages
Not all medical schools felt the need to warn their students. In an email available online, Professor Keeram Marin from Imperial College London encouraged students to sign a petition against the new contracts. The prominent endocrinologist echoed the opinion of many: ‘The proposals are unreasonable and we all need to stop its progress.’
With prominent radio presenter, and Glasgow GP, Dr Margaret McCartney interested in the case and promising to investigate the emails further, this case is likely to resurface in the near future.