'Two-thirds of us will be jobless after saving lives on Covid frontline,' says training doctor

14 May 2021, 15:07 | Updated: 14 May 2021, 15:18

By Fiona Jones

This training anaesthetic doctor, who has been crucial during the Covid pandemic, is left feeling "used and disposed of" as she and two-thirds of her colleagues will be left jobless from August due to a lack of funding.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called on ministers to provide the funding needed to boost training places after The Independent found that almost 700 anaesthetic doctors have been dropped from training due to lack of places.

However, these training doctors were crucial on the frontline during the Covid surge.

A London-based intensive care registrar, Sarah, is nine years into her fourteen year training post to become an anaesthetist - and was amongst those dropped from placement after the worst of the pandemic.

She told Shelagh, "We've all found out in the last couple of weeks. My anaesthetic intensive colleagues are suffering from exhaustion and can't relax because we're all preparing for a potential third wave.

"This heightened level of anxiety of 18 months of working sometimes 5,6,7 days working 13 hour shifts in PPE, they then found out during this last week that there has been an all-time cut in the number of training places available. Two-thirds of us are not going to be getting training places from this August.

"As you can imagine it's left a cohort of doctors, the people who propped up the country...for the entirety of this pandemic feeling like they've been used and are going to be jobless."

Shelagh summarised, "Used and disposed of", to which Sarah agreed.

Sarah reflected on her experience during the Covid pandemic where she has spent 18 months away from her family saving lives.

"The second wave was incredibly terrifying. Junior doctors between the age of 25 and 35...were coming into intensive care and dying," she said, "we've only just come out of that second wave now."

She told LBC not only are medics suffering from PTSD after the trauma of the pandemic, but there is now the added anxiety of unemployment from August.

Many of her colleagues are "stuck" because they have mortgages and children, so cannot work abroad.

"They're all finding this very very scary... the fallout is going to be absolutely awful," she said, "strangely enough, a year where critical doctors have never been more needed there's been an all-time low in the number of posts available and an unprecedented number of applicants."