August 24, 2007

Over 10,000 UK junior doctors face bleak future

Thousands of doctors in Britain, including Indians, face prospects of joblessness within weeks with 33,000 applicants already lined up for the 22,000 National Health Service (NHS) training posts. The deadline to fill 22,000 NHS training posts has been extended to October 31 this year but with 33,000 applicants there are renewed warnings that thousands could face exclusion from the job.

Indian doctors trying to migrate to Britain should think twice as more than 10,000 junior doctors in the UK are now facing prospects of unemployment soon. Junior doctors who do not get a post under the Medical Training Application Service face taking non-training jobs, emigrating to Canada, Australia or New Zealand or leaving the NHS.

The government has created 1,000 extra training posts that will be allocated after October 31 to unsuccessful candidates who are especially qualified. But critics have said that many doctors who have already been assigned training posts have found their salaries cut or that they are overqualified. "This failed experiment has condemned some of our brightest young clinicians to a lifetime of being short contract supply doctors," said Matthew Jameson Evans of the campaign group Remedy UK.

A Department of Health spokesperson said that more than 12,000 applicants were already in non-training posts and promised support for doctors who have so far been unsuccessful. "If we want to maintain the quality of medical training for junior doctors in this country, it is important that there is an element of competition for jobs," the spokesperson said.

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