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We will not accept a doctor’s contract that is unsafe for patients

I was delighted to read your editorial ‘Pharmacists must support their junior doctor colleagues’ and would like to thank you for your support. This is a worrying time for the NHS, and the way we are going to protect the NHS we all love is to work together and support each other across disciplines, specialties and levels of experience.

When I decided to devote my working life to medicine and the NHS, I never thought I would be voting to strike. It is not a decision that I took lightly. However, we feel we have been backed into a corner and left with no other option. In order to protect ourselves, patients and the future of the NHS, we had to take action against the contract being imposed on us.

I love my job. I take great care and pride that every day complete strangers confide in me, trust me and place their life and health in my hands and in the hands of my team. It is a privilege to be a doctor and something that we all take seriously.

Medicine is a rollercoaster of a job and you never know what a day will throw at you, which is one of the reasons why I love it. Some days I have delivered tiny healthy babies into this world, managed to get my elderly patient who has been on the ward for weeks safely discharged with a huge smile on her face, or helped a child who came in unable to breathe properly to be at the point of running around playing with a toy train. Other days are less good. Other days I am the one who has to tell a lady and her two daughters that the cancer she thought was under control has spread through her whole brain, the one who has to lead a cardiac arrest call on a patient that is unsuccessful and then try to console her distraught daughter, and the one who has to confirm the death of a patient I battled for weeks to try to get better. Even on those days, I would not be doing anything else.

However, we doctors, like all healthcare professionals, are human beings. At the moment morale is so low that doctors who have always been passionate about this job are giving up. They are leaving. And those who are not are struggling to remember the reasons they became a doctor. People have talked about low morale in the NHS for years. However, the threat of imposition of this unsafe and unfair contract was the last straw, and now we have had enough. No longer are we going to stand aside while the NHS is pushed to breaking point. We have a duty of care to our patients and this contract is unsafe for patients. We have to fight it. Everyone is a potential patient — this is everyone’s fight.

Emma Dyer

FY2 Doctor

London 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20200200

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