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I was reading the front page of the BMA News yesterday. The headline was ‘Juniors must take lead on future of training’. This one sentence gives more information than was intended. First, the use of the term ‘juniors’, seems to indicate a bunch of youngsters who may be enthusiastic but naïve. In other areas of life, it may even be thought to apply to adolescents struggling into the ways of adulthood. My brother in law of roughly the same age as me was managing major financial accounts in the City when I was still going through the ‘junior’ ranks of registrar and senior registrar (how dated that sounds). He was always highly amused by the term ‘junior doctor’. So let us clear up a longstanding problem. In medicine, the term ‘junior’ applies to doctors in their late twenties and early thirties who have held down responsible positions for many years. They may even have negotiated the hurdles of marriage and procreation, to say nothing of mortgages. Their contemparies who went into general practice may, by comparison, be considered wise old pillars of the community by the time ‘junior doctors’ are looking for consultant jobs and yet surprisingly may look of a similar age!

My first plea therefore is this – let us look for a better description of hospital doctors in training. I encourage readers to write in with their thoughts. Second, how awful is training in the UK? The phrase ‘Juniors MUST take lead’ indicates that all those in Medical Education were unable to come up with a better system than the old HO/SHO/Registrar progression which had, with all its inherent faults, served to provide the present cohort of ‘Senior Doctors’. That is a damning indictment on the many talented and ‘in touch’ individuals whose views on MTAS were overlooked or ignored. I disagree that ‘seniors’ don’t have something to contribute to training. I think it is more a case of which ‘seniors’ should be contributing. A self-serving clique managed to produce a fiasco that blighted many doctors’ training. That system, thankfully, would appear to be rapidly fragmenting. If the Tooke report were to be implemented common sense may once again prevail. I would therefore suggest that abandoning ‘senior’ leadership when shaping medical training is akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Doctors with experience of consultant life understand which aspects of their training were of use and which were not. They have a useful role to play in helping those still on the training ladder.

Having written most of this editorial on the basis of one headline from a different publication it is probably wise to comment on what is actually in ‘The Otorhinolaryngologist’ this month. There are excellent reviews on Paediatric airway problems as well as primary ciliary dyskinesia. Digital photography is a subject of interest to many involved in teaching and research and this is clearly explained by Judd et al. I hope this edition proves to be of interest to both my ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ colleagues.

Anil Banerjee
Editor in Chief

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  • Authors: Anil Banerjee
  • Keywords: editorial
Read 3807 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 17:39

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