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Campaign seeks to rename ‘junior’ doctor title in a bid to improve morale

Support is growing for a campaign to rename the role of junior or trainee doctors.

Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, said doctors needed job titles that give them “the respect they deserve”.

The campaign has been launched by the Oxford Health Alliance, with the support of the CMO.

It argues that the titles junior doctor or trainee are “discriminatory and belittling” and urge a return to the names Senior House Officer and Registrar, which are still used informally.

Prof David Matthews, a professor of diabetes at Oxford, said that altering titles would be a cost free way of making doctors feel valued.

“It’s crazy that we’ve adopted this terminology. It’s unjust, progressively inaccurate and detrimental to self-esteem. The labels are widely misunderstood by the public.”

There are more than 52,000 doctors who are training to become consultants in the NHS, and for more than a decade have been known as ‘trainees’.

A survey among 400 ‘junior’ doctors found that more than 50% thought the title was bad for morale.

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh welcomed the campaign.

President Prof Derek Bell and Dr Katherine Walesby, Chair of the College’s Trainees and Members’ Committee, said: “This College has long supported proposals to change the term ‘junior doctor’ to something that more adequately reflects the experience and training that these healthcare professionals have undertaken.

“Doctors in training are fully-qualified doctors often with many years of experience after graduation. It is essential that this group of doctors are recognised for their contribution to the NHS and the vital role that they play in healthcare teams across the country. Changing their title would also provide more clarity to patients.

“Doctors in training are the future of medicine and their wellbeing and morale are important not just at an individual level but as a reflection of a functioning, sustainable and valued workforce that makes up the NHS.”

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