Doctors, would you recommend beginning a career in medicine now?

(137 Posts)
tropicalfish Sat 20-Feb-16 13:31:28

There is alot of negative media attention on the life of junior doctors, junior doctor contracts etc. I dont know any doctors myself really and wondered is it all as bad as is made out in the media? I personally am completely against the new contract.

Would you recommend a career in medicine and if so where would you do it.
I would have thought being a GP might be a good option but I hear there are lots of vacancies so presume this is not considered to be a good choice.
Is working in London much worse than working elsewhere for instance?
My dc was thinking about doing medicine but is reconsidering because of the worries about doing medicine in that you can get sued, people could make a complaint about you, you have to study all through your career, pay alot of money to do exams and then not really get paid enough to afford to live easily particularly considering the many years of study and lifestyle sacrifices that have to be made.

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Kr1stina Sat 20-Feb-16 15:32:00

I think that if your child is not keen on medicine as a career, he or she should definitely reconsider . It's not a course or a job to do half heartedly .

bojorojo Sat 20-Feb-16 15:55:44

How many doctors get sued? Usually it is the GMC that hands out discipline. True doctors will still want to do it. You are guaranteed a job unless you are useless. You can work anywhere in the world. You don't have to pay the full cost of your world class training. Far greater employment prospects than, say, architecture. All professionals have to be competent. If you are not, there are consequences. My DH is a consulting engineer. They could be sued. They have professional indemnity insurance. If being a doctor is what you really want, nothing like this should put you off. However, it is hard work. Senior doctors and consultants get paid well.

tropicalfish Sat 20-Feb-16 16:04:02

I agree, it is not a job to do half heartedly however, I am trying to find out how many people that are doctors, would actively recommend doing it as a career and working for the NHS. I dont know any doctors so can't ask them.
I agree that there could be consequences of making a mistake in any profession however the consequences of making a mistake as a doctor are very grave.

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DeoGratias Sat 20-Feb-16 16:04:21

Huge number of boys at my sons' school want to be doctors. I am from a family of doctors. I recommend it as a career. Can be very well paid for consultants in London with big private practices. A relative of mine made £20k one day last week (I kid you not) although for those of us who do earn a lot (I ma a fairly high paid lawyer - we are a fairly highly achieving family) it takes 20 or 30 years to build a high paid career whether in law or medicine - a lot of early slog goes into it first.

tropicalfish Sat 20-Feb-16 16:35:24

Thats interesting Deogratias, Would you recommend one speciality over another, not just for the money but for work/life balance?

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bojorojo Sat 20-Feb-16 17:57:37

But surely, op, a doctor should really want to be a doctor, regardless? Most work in the NHS. Most are reasonably happy or they would be doing something else and universities would not be turning down about 2/3 of medicine applicants. If you keep thinking of all the possible barriers, you wouldn't do any career. If my DH makes a mistake, a building might collapse. That is pretty dangerous for those in the building. However, as a trained professional that will not happen. Very few doctors make mistakes. We trust them. If a train driver makes a mistake, the train crashes - as in Germany. These instances are very rare. If you want a risk free profession that makes loads, then try merchant banking or similar city jobs.


smileyhappymummy Sat 20-Feb-16 21:47:35

I am a GP - but struggling. Working less and less time in general practice. It's a really tough job at the moment - although the pay is good, the days at work are absolutely exhausting and very long - around 14 hours with literally no break (including toilet trips!). I worry about making mistakes all the time. Most GPs will get around one complaint a year. I pay 3000 pounds a year indemnity insurance to work 1.5 days as a GP. If full time it's around 10,000. So no, the risk of being sued is not that small. That's why we have to pay such huge indemnity fees. I know I do the best I can for patients - but the best that can be done within the constraints of resources and 10 minute appointments can sometimes be limited.

I don't know if I would recommend medicine now. And I never thought I'd say that.

Coconutty Sat 20-Feb-16 23:09:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tropicalfish Sun 21-Feb-16 11:33:19

smileyhappymummy thanks for your reply, do you think that is why there are so many vacancies for GPs?
I think that the hours of work for hospital doctors must make it difficult to find affordable childcare which is why doing GP work must be more appealing to people with family responsibilities.

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Auriga Sun 21-Feb-16 11:56:49

I'm hugely relieved that my DD is not interested in doing medicine. I'd like her to have a decent work-life balance and a lot less stress and anxiety than I've had.

It looks as though working conditions will go back to what they were 30 years ago and I couldn't bear to see her put herself through that.

Nan0second Sun 21-Feb-16 12:04:20

No don't do it. Am an NHS consultant with no private practice.
Medical school is now hideously expenses. Wages are ok but falling annually compared with the cost of living (have been since 2005) and the new contract will make it worse. Training is deteriorating - the amount of hoops and stress is unbelievable and it costs a lot of money in fees.
Finally, complaints are rising exponentially and it is estimated that a doctor starting now will be looked at by the GMC once and sued 1-2x in their career. (GMC likely to be groundless rather than serious full investigation - these are v stressful but v common)
I wouldn't do it again. Neither would any of my friends or husband.

bojorojo Sun 21-Feb-16 12:35:25

But lots of careers get complaints. Teachers would say the same. My DH pays huge sums in insurance for being a consulting engineer. For the whole practice it is massive. Occasionally there is a claim but you have the insurance to deal with it. It is just the way it works. It depends if you think a career is all about money and worry. Who has a worry free career as a professional? Who does not work long hours as a professional? Where I am a school govenor, the Head Teacher works phenomenal hours each week,and in the holidays! It really is just not doctors who have a less than good work life balance. She earns less than some junior doctors!

There are clearly many who do want to be doctors, according to the numbers applying, so hopefully the right people will be trained. Let's hope so because most of us would like to be treated by someone who really wants to do the job and is interested in looking after us and not someone who is watching the clock and thinking everone is going to sue them! Also, people who commute into London for jobs are often travelling and working for many, many hours each week. They also have far more liklihood of being made redundant. What doctor is ever made redundant? Just does not happen. At least doctors can work anywhere in the UK, have a respected job, keep it unless they are incompetent, and the money they get is very, very, good in some areas where housing is cheap. Stress is trying to afford a house in London on a low salary.

caroldecker Sun 21-Feb-16 13:24:58

There is not a job that pays well without stress, long hours and responsibility. Doctors get it no worse than other professions and are in a much better position than some.

Wolpertinger Sun 21-Feb-16 13:33:07

Personally, I am a doctor and I wouldn't recommend it. I'm an NHS consultant with no private practice - which is actually most of us.

Very long hours, being a junior you have very little say in where you are going to work effectively being posted to hospitals which may be miles from home, very difficult with family life.

Mental health problems are common as are complaints. If you are a GP you should expect at least one GMC referral in your career. There aren't stats for other specialties. Training costs a lot of money. I still spend a lot of money (my own) on training and medical defence annually which you need to account for every time you think about what the salary is.

And no I wouldn't recommend teaching either - they aren't the only two jobs in the world though!

tropicalfish Sun 21-Feb-16 14:16:28

Thanks to everyone that has replied, certainly, Wolpertinger, that is precisely why my dd doesnt want to do it anymore. Life would be made very difficult where you have no control over where you live. My dh knows some junior doctors and they were saying they find it difficult to rent somewhere.
Being a doctor is the kind of job where people that don't do it have a very strong opinion that it is a great thing but it is quite different when you actually do the job yourself.

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LessStressy Sun 21-Feb-16 14:48:52

tropicalfish, is your DC planning to withdraw their application for this year and change track?
I remember you as our DC applied to most of the same places IIRC.

Trojanhorsebox Sun 21-Feb-16 16:05:20

I wouldn't do medicine again nor would I advise anyone else to, kids able enough to get into med school have so many other options available to them - I trained as a GP then retrained in a hospital specialty to consultant level, left the UK and still work as a doctor part time overseas. I will never come back and work in the NHS again. I have decent, not fantastic, pay here as I'm in a lower paid specialty but working conditions are so much better, I actually enjoy my job, which I never thought I would say in the NHS.
I went through my training when they were chopping and changing everything, moving goal posts all the time and creating more hoops to jump through - Calman, before MMC. It just seemed like a hamster wheel you weren't ever going to get off, massive regional rotations with no control over where you could be sent and zero notice, so a nightmare to plan accommodation and childcare, being referred to as "juniors" in your late 20s/early 30s and being bullied and abused by management and just having to suck it up - I know it's a lot worse for juniors now, I finished my training before crazy shifts became the norm, though I did do the 100 hour plus weeks and busy on call rotas - never again, bitter much??????

BoboChic Sun 21-Feb-16 18:04:00

The working conditions for doctors in the NHS and for state school teachers are dreadful and getting worse. Becoming a doctor or teacher ought to be a worthwhile career for intelligent people who are interested in helping others but the institutional structures surrounding those professions are out of control.

LineyReborn Sun 21-Feb-16 18:07:22

My younger DC is looking more at a career in biomedical sciences rather than medicine per se. I think this might become more common? I genuinely don't know.

nooddsocksforme Sun 21-Feb-16 18:35:49

I am a consultant with no private practice. I am comfortably off now with the prospect of a very good pension. Being a doctor is a priviledge and you do see a side of life you wouldn't otherwise see. As a junior doc it was more of a struggle money wise
I am married to a GP and I think his job is awful . We have both had many many sleepless nights and holidays spoiled by worrying about patients. I am sure other jobs are extremely stressful too though.
It is not the job it used to be and I think it will be very very tough for junior docs over the next few years. If the NHS is privatised it could get better or it could be taken over by companies who have terrible terms and conditions.

The idea that its a job you could do until you were 67 is IMO totally unrealistic so I think there will be lots of early retirals and pensions overall will be much worse than they have been-although again this probably applies to lots of professions.

Most people go into the job because they want to hep people but you often have so little time ,so few resources and so many demands on you that you can never do the job the way you really want to .

I wouldn't recommend it to my kids . I have had some wonderful moments but at times have felt completely helpless and have seen people in terrible anguish . My huge regret is that so much of my emotional energy went to my job that maybe there wasn't enough left for my family at times

Helenluvsrob Sun 21-Feb-16 18:50:15

GP here. With a son who was at this stage 2yrs ago regarding himself as a " failed medical school applicant " because he got no offers .

Woukd I recommend medicine as a career - nope. I've enjoyed it for most of my near 30yrs but it's running me into the ground now.

My son us now a happy neuroscientist in training. He occasionally mentions graduate entry medicine but I hope he doesn't bother.

My dds med student friends are just finishing finals. The high fliers have already done electives in Australia and have feelers / placements arranged. They will not stay in the uk. The people who will come back to the uk are her friends who didn't get the grades for uk medicine, but who's pushy medical parents sent them to Bulgaria and Rumania to get " eu medical degrees" which are accepted in the uk etc . I can't comment on the courses, but if they take entrants who got entry grades that didn't get them in courses in uk ......

lostinmiddlemarch Sun 21-Feb-16 18:58:42

Interesting you should say that helen. I'm guessing the required grades for medicine when you got in were considerably lower than what they are now?

I'm one of the medical students going to study for an eu degree - at the end of the day, it's a different system. You can get in, but you can't pass unless you're good enough, and you certainly can't practice in the UK unless they consider you good enough.

I think the stratospherically high grades required for medicine nowadays are more to do with supply and demand than the degree being that level of difficulty. When I was younger and horribly blunt, I did a survey of all my doctor friends and relatives, asking what they had to get into medicine. One psychiatrist said 'a B and 2Cs but I just missed it'. I rest my case grin

tropicalfish Sun 21-Feb-16 19:14:48

My dd was saying about working abroad but ultimately decided she didnt want to have to work abroad yet wasnt sure she could accept poorer pay and conditions by staying in the UK.
I think the government should realise that dc have lots of choices and fewer of them will choose to do medicine as they look at the reality of what it is like. I wonder if it is a strategy to cause a crisis so they can swoop in and privatise it.
Helenluvsrob, Neuroscience sounds really interesting.
Nooddsocksforme and Trojanhorsebox thank you for your contributions

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pregnantgrump Sun 21-Feb-16 19:15:28

I love my job and consider it a vocation. But I've been thinking about what my little one might do when he's big and hope he doesn't want to be a doc. In most specialties there is very little autonomy over basic stuff like where you get to live (eg when I applied for specialist training I had to accept a post without knowing where it would be within the whole of London, Kent, Sussex, and Surrey) and when you go on holiday. The NHS is a monopoly employer for quite a large chunk of your career and can do things like cut your pay by 30% which makes things like mortgages tricky. You work many hours for no pay because the workload exceeds what is possible to do in your contracted hours and because people's lives are at stake so you can't just leave. When you're young and idealistic these things don't matter but when you have a family they make you feel a little trapped. the money also isn't that good. What nursery fees cost here mean that if I have a second child I would be paying to work. And I'm not very junior at all.

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