The Oxford Effect

Last weekend, a group of Oxford University Hospital trainees and leaders organized an event called #OxfordDoctor2030, in which people brainstormed ideas about how to improve junior doctors’ morale, training, and working lives. I learned that this event was taking place from a livetweet by my friend @DoctorFitz ( whom I have met last year in Oxford.  I will share my opinion on this event and explain why it has a capital importance. 

Last September, the medical student organization I lead (Committee of Medical Students from French-speaking Belgium) was a part of the Oxford Colloquium on Medical Education. So we went over to Oxford to participate. Our main aim was to learn new ways to improve medical education in Belgium since we know lots of problems, not so different from other countries (burnout, medical deserts, not being valued). We were fairly impressed when we saw we were the only students there – lots of professors, clinical teachers, senior registrars and trainees talked about how to improve medical education and improve a sense of leadership.

The #OxfordDoctor 2030 took place last weekend. One of the craziest things happened: senior registrars and people from the leadership showed up.

Over a hundred solutions were proposed to improve the morale, training, and working lives of the junior doctors.

The strikes hard in a time where in Europe (especially France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium) and undergoing a shortage of medical professionals and our trainees are enduring difficult times with an important work overload.

In September, I was able to speak with a certain person from the leadership in Oxford, and this person told me how Oxford University Hospitals are now focused on train future leaders. I thought this was a beautiful lie to tell a medical student.

But then I talked to a junior doctor doing an Academic Foundation Programme: he told me out of the blue: “Leaders in Oxford are all into leadership and management and that sort of things”. So it really was true.

Oxford is setting an example to other countries as to how to improve junior doctors lives.

This is a big deal since the culture is different in Europe: doctors who cannot put their lives aside while doing a specialty training, who cannot stand the work overload are considered as weak and blamed by both the chief of departments and the doctors’ unions.

This is the time to care about how we train our doctors and how mistakes affect their lives: this is important since if we do not change that, we will end up by train bitter and uninterested physicians.

So great work Oxfordians, we all look up to you!

Picture: drawings made by @JohnAshtonUK

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