Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Junior doctors 'unaware' on reforms

Junior doctors' knowledge about health reforms is poor, according to a new study

Junior doctors have poor knowledge about health politics and NHS reforms, research suggests.

A new poll of training medics found that 17.7% could not name Jeremy Hunt as the Health Secretary.

Almost a third of those questioned admitted they had poor understanding of the changes to the health service.

And 71.6% did not know that following the rollout of the Health and Social Care Act on April 1, clinical commissioning groups around England are responsible for the provision of healthcare services.

Two-thirds of the 102 junior doctors questioned said they did not know the NHS budget, according to the study published in JRSM Short Reports - an offshoot to the Royal Society of Medicine's journal JRSM.

"Basic understanding of health politics and NHS reforms was poor, even on issues affecting future training," the authors said.

Researcher Dr Stefano Palazzo, from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: "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 co-ordinating education.

"The NHS is changing, and arguably some of those who will be most affected by these changes are current junior doctors. Although foundation year trainees are interested and concerned by NHS reforms, understanding of them is poor and few seem to be motivated to address this.

"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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