The British Medical Association (BMA) has published a report today (Monday, 19 December), revealing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on junior doctors’ finances.
It surveyed more than 4,500 newly qualified doctors and found that many are cutting back on buying food and heating their homes.
Commenting on this, Naeem Nazem, Head of Medical Division at MDDUS, said:
“These findings paint a bleak picture of the current experience of junior doctors.
“Earlier this year, we surveyed our junior doctor members and found that one in three are rarely or never able to buy nutritious food at work. The lack of access to affordable food means they often work through the night, hungry and exhausted.
“We heard of doctors turning to fast food delivery apps as a short-term solution. This is not sustainable – and the cost implications for junior doctors of having to regularly buy fast food at work are spelled out by the BMA survey.
“Many are resorting to skipping meals to keep costs down and, ultimately, patients will suffer.
“A tired doctor with worries about their finances is a doctor with increased risk of making mistakes. Two-thirds of junior doctors (66%) told us they fear patient safety is at risk when they work while hungry and tired. Financial and personal wellbeing and patient safety are inextricably linked.
“This is a major issue with a simple solution – provide round-the-clock access to nutritious food at a reasonable price. I urge policymakers to take urgent action to stop our young doctors from going hungry at work.”
A junior doctor in London* said:
“I’m on a rota and work nights, 9pm – 9am and regularly go the whole shift without anything to eat or drink.
“My colleagues and I have resorted to using Deliveroo in the past, but it’s very expensive - not to mention it’s a nightmare trying to find the driver around the hospital.
“At the end of a 12-hour shift without food, I’m not performing at my best, which can affect clinical decisions. When you’re hungry, you can’t think straight.”
The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.
For further information, please contact Caroline English, communications manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07741 237856.
*The comment quoted is from an MDDUS member who responded to our survey in September 2022.
This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.