Medacs Healthcare

JUN 25/2015

Agency work 'great way for newly qualified doctors to expand skills'

Newly qualified doctors could expand their skills by working with an agency, which would also give them more freedom in where they pick up shifts and how often they decide to work.

A new survey of 430 young doctors from British Medical Association (BMA) reveals that many have been encouraged to work extra hours to plug gaps in ward rotas, leaving some to feel burned out - something that is unlikely to happen when working for an agency as it offers far more freedom than working for one hospital full time.

According to the Independent, Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA, claims the report demonstrates that staff shortages within the NHS are worsening. He also said that the practice of asking new doctors to work overtime to overcome the shortfall is becoming more commonplace. 

The release of the survey results come in the wake of health secretary Jeremy Hunt's announcement of his 'new deal' for GPs, which has been billed as a solution to some of the challenges facing the health profession, such as recruiting new doctors and encouraging people to train for general practice.

Of those that work on a rota basis, six in ten said there are often large gaps in their schedules, compared to less than half in last year's survey - spaces that could easily be filled by working agency shifts, which could also help them to earn additional income.

The BMA, which has been tracking the careers of these 430 doctors since they began their careers back in 2006, said it found the results of the poll to be "alarming".

Dr Porter said the "normal experience of a junior doctor working in the NHS is to see gaps in cover around them" and called on the government to tackle this issue "as a matter of urgency".

Working for an agency means a doctor has unparalleled freedom and control over their career, as they can work as often or as little as they want and can expand their skills in a manner that may not be available by working full time for a single hospital due to staff shortages standing in the way of development.

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