Spare a thought for junior doctors

Sir, – Spare a thought for all the junior doctors who are moving for changeover this week. Four times a year, all interns and senior house officers will move jobs. If they are very lucky that may be within the same hospital; if they are lucky it may be in the same county; but for some they have to upend their life and move to the other side of the country for their training scheme.

Unfortunately, junior doctors have very little support from either their employers, the training schemes or the HSE in order to make these transitions easier. Finding suitable accommodation for periods of three to six months during the current housing crisis is especially challenging. Often junior doctors have to resort to paying over and above the odds for rent, or often have to double-rent, paying for two rooms or flats to ensure they will have accommodation for when they return from a “peripheral” job.

And with each move to a new hospital or employer, inevitable issues arise with receiving their appropriate pay. Often junior doctors are placed on emergency tax or the wrong tax code just at the time when extra income is needed for paying deposits and rent.

A final nail in the coffin is receiving the long-awaited rotas. Theoretically, these should be provided a number of weeks before starting a new job but often are not. This can be especially jarring for those who are starting their first week of a new job on a set of night shifts and have to rejig their sleeping pattern in record time. Or for those who are working the weekend before starting their new job and end up working two weeks continuously.


After the preceding stress before starting the job, arriving at the job can be equally as stressful. Trying to perform well in a new job and on a new team while awaiting vital passwords for new computer systems can be testing.

Unfortunately these problems existed before the current pandemic, and to stop the haemorrhage of our junior doctors leaving the profession or for greener pastures, they need to be addressed. – Yours, etc,