Junior contract 'robs' family time

Dr Charlotte Elliot warns of the negative impact of the new junior doctors’ rotas on work-life balance

HCSA has issued a powerful warning on the continued pressure faced by doctors trying to balance family and work.

Council member Dr Charlotte Elliot highlighted the impact of the drive to “seven-day” working forced upon junior doctors via the 2016 contract which “neglects to see doctors as human beings.”

“I know of one doctor who was in tears as she was being forced to work weekends – the only quality time she had with her son,” she told delegates to the TUC Women’s conference in London. 

“One of my close friends has left medicine altogether as she could not manage her training and two young children.

“Getting a flexible childminder was a constant worry. Finishing in time was a constant challenge, and pressures from work would impact on her sleep and wellbeing.”

Dr Elliot added: “There exists a gender imbalance and I am confident one reason for this is poor access to flexible working coupled with the role of women as carers for their families.

“I am 30, but I would like to have children. But I fear I will fall behind my peers, be penalised for taking time out, and be used to plug rota gaps.

“My wish is that I am no longer seen as just a number or name on a rota, but respected, valued and viewed as an actual human being.”

Dr Elliot was speaking in support of a motion on “Achieving work-life balance in the NHS,” which was moved by the Royal College of Midwives and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.