Junior doctors lack understanding of NHS reforms

Junior doctors and healthcare reforms: Are they ready? A questionnaire study

From JRSM Short Reports

Junior doctors are uninformed about current NHS reforms, despite being interested and concerned, according to this paper. The researchers found that basic understanding of health politics and NHS reforms was poor, even on issues affecting future training. A total of 17.7% could not name the health secretary, 66.7% did not know the budget of the NHS and 71.6% did not know who would be responsible for health-care commissioning after the reforms. 90.2% felt they would value formal education on the current changes. One author comments: “Most worryingly, almost three quarters of foundation doctors surveyed were unaware of significant changes that could affect their own training, namely that deaneries will no longer be responsible for coordinating education.” He concludes concludes: “Given foundation year doctors will be implementing current health policy, and arguably forming the policy of the future, it is essential to engage this population. It may be that improving health politics education – whether through formal teaching sessions for junior doctors or integration into medical student training – will be the only way in which this may occur.”

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Abstract

Objectives To assess the awareness, understanding and opinions of National Health Service (NHS) reforms among foundation year junior doctors.

Design Participants completed a 16 question online survey, consisting of multiple-choice questions and questions with free text responses.

Setting Foundation doctors were all working within one of the four London, Oxford or Severn foundation schools.

Participants One hundred and two foundation year junior doctors.

Main outcome measures Understanding and awareness of NHS reforms and health politics in general as assessed through six free text and multiple-choice answers to a set of basic factual questions. Opinions of the reforms were assessed through Likert scale (1–5) responses to seven questions.

Results Basic understanding of health politics and NHS reforms was poor, even on issues affecting future training. A total of 17.7% could not name the health secretary, 66.7% did not know the budget of the NHS and 71.6% did not know who would be responsible for healthcare commissioning after the reforms. A total of 68.7% of respondents reported being interested in the reforms and 63.7% reported being concerned about their effect on their own career path. Despite this, 63.7% self-reported poor understanding of the NHS reforms and 90.2% felt they would value formal education on the current changes.

Conclusions Despite being interested and concerned, junior doctors are surprisingly uninformed about the NHS reforms. Given the findings of this study, more work needs to be done to educate the current cohort of medical students and foundation year doctors and engage them with the changes taking place.

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Article details

Palazzo, S., & Chehab, O. (2013). Junior doctors and healthcare reforms: are they ready? A questionnaire study JRSM Short Reports, 4 (5), 32-32 DOI: 10.1177/2042533313476695

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