Every year, around this time, all health boards across Scotland open their doors to hundreds of new FY1 doctors. That means, in about two weeks’ time, the phones at BMA Scotland will start to ring, and our inboxes will fill up with those very same FY1 doctors wanting to talk to us about a whole range of topics.
This is not a phenomenon we have any concerns about, since providing support, protection and representation to doctors is, after all, our principal raison d’etre. We have, over the years, found that the questions we are asked create a huge spectrum to deal with , covering everything from “why haven’t I had a contract yet?” or “how do I know if I am being paid correctly?” to “I was on overnight and didn’t know how to contact the on-call consultant” or “do you know where to get the best pizzas after 10pm for my hospital?”
That last one may seem like something trivial or even something we shouldn’t be able to help with, but we have always known that stuff like that really, really matters in settling new staff in.
Every year, we strongly encourage all doctors to work together and pass on hints, tips and advice to new FY1s up and down the country as we know that what can make the difference between a good shift and good mental health and a miserable shift and negative impacts on wellbeing that can, in some cases develop into a damaging spiral.
If the past few months have highlighted anything for, it is the strength of good teamwork and how important it is that everyone looks out for colleagues and help in whatever way they can. “We’re all in this together” has been an oft-repeated phrase for good reason and BMA Scotland has been doing its bit through some key work including:
- advisers experiencing a 34% increase in junior doctor queries;
- providing ethical guidance to support doctors making difficult decisions;
- offering free membership to newly qualified medical students and retired doctors returning to work;
- opening an emergency advice helpline available 24/7 for advice about PPE or any other COVID-related concerns;
- securing a risk assessment framework to ensure vulnerable and BAME doctors are better protected;
- providing updates for junior doctors on our blog and through regular virtual regional updates.
All of that, though, is what we have done collectively as your trade union, but we know, from the work the Member Engagement Team do all-year round, that peer support and local knowledge are equally important elements of improving working lives that we can help facilitate.
Since we can’t be there in person to pass on hints and tips and create those vital personal connections as we normally do in hospitals and at inductions, this year we’re going virtual with the introduction of #BMATartanTip – an opportunity to harness the power of Twitter to share those same hints and tips far and wide, and at the same time potentially win some Amazon Vouchers in the process.
So, here’s what we’re asking doctors around the country to do:
If you haven’t already done, join us at bma.org.uk/joinsummer
1. Ask a senior colleague for their top tip for starting FY1
2. Take a selfie (or video) with them and with your BMA Scotland tartan lanyard holder
3. Use #BMATartanTips and share the top tip and the selfie with us on social media
4. You’ll both be put into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher!
And don’t forget to tag @BMAScotland!
Then sit back, keep checking #BMATartanTip for more hints and tips and wait to see if you’re a winner on 30 August!
If you want to get more involved with the work of BMA Scotland at your worksite, please contact your LNC or junior doctor subcommittee.
Scott Anderson is Assistant Secretary, West of Scotland
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