BMA(NI) survey report shows poor study leave provision for junior doctors in Northern Ireland
(issued by BMA Northern Ireland Wednesday 21 Mar 2001)
Large numbers of Northern Ireland’s junior doctors are unable to take vital study leave due mainly to pressure of work and financial constraints.
The BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee in Northern Ireland (NIJDC) has published today, Wednesday 21 March 2001, the report of a survey it carried out of junior doctors in training grades here and it shows depressing results.
¨ Almost three quarters of juniors who responded felt unable to take study leave because of pressure of work.
¨ Many juniors were only able to take study leave by effectively subsidising it themselves:
¨ Over half of the respondents were unaware of core requirements for study leave in their specialty.
¨ Nearly two thirds were unsuccessful in obtaining funding for all core requirements in their specialty.
Commenting on the findings of the survey, Dr Steve Austin, NIJDC Treasurer, who carried out the postal survey on behalf of the committee, says: “Previous information concerning this situation was anecdotal but now we have hard evidence of the problems being experienced by junior doctor colleagues. These results are indeed very worrying and need to be addressed urgently.
“In addition to the work and financial constraints that prevent juniors from taking study leave there is the added problem of many doctors not even being made aware of their actual entitlement. Senior house officers and specialist registrars are entitled to up to 30 days study leave but the survey shows that only half are informed of their full entitlement.”
The survey results show that over 39% of juniors who took part in the survey were told that their entitlement was 15 days or less.
Dr Peter Maguire, Chairman of NIJDC, is to meet with the Post Graduate Dean to discuss the results of the survey. He says: "This survey has shown that the operation of the study leave system as it currently functions is questionable in terms of educational effectiveness.
“The environment in which a substantial number of juniors work is not conducive to them being able to freely participate in study leave.
“A large number of juniors are having to personally contribute to their course fees and living expenses because the system is not adequately funded. This reliance on personal contributions also brings into question matters of equity and access for all juniors throughout Northern Ireland.
“We will be meeting with the Post Graduate Dean tomorrow and hope that together we can find a solution to this situation.”
Note to Editors:
- 52% of respondents had paid course fees themselves;
- 65% reported having paid accommodation and/or subsistence themselves;
The survey was carried out during January/February 2001.
All 1114 junior doctors in training grades in Northern Ireland were surveyed.
There was a survey response rate of 29.7%.
A copy of the survey report is available on the BMA(NI) web site at www.bma.org.uk - click on BMA Northern Ireland and then "Committees".
For further information please contact:
Public Affairs Officer
British Medical Association Northern Ireland
16 Cromac Place
Cromac Wood, Ormeau Road,
Belfast BT7 2JB
Photos of spokespeople available online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmanorthernireland/
Follow @BMA_NI on Twitter to get the latest news on our activities and events.
028 9026 9666 (switchboard)
028 9026 9672 (direct line)
07767 216 427 (mobile / out of hours)