The junior doctor who heckled former secretary Patricia Hewitt on BBC1’s Question Time has told of his heartbreak over the failed recruitment process.
London SHO in cardiology Philip Smith said his passionate and emotional heckling of Ms Hewitt last month as she attempted to defend the flawed MTAS (medical training application service) was prompted by anger, despair and fear that things would get worse.
‘It was not an easy thing for me to do as heckling is seen as un-doctor-like,’ he said and added that, even though he had secured his first-choice job in core medical training, he was in despair at the plight of his friends and colleagues, many of whom did not receive job offers in the first round of allocations earlier this month.
Dr Smith will be separated from his long-term girlfriend in August because she did not get a London post. ‘If she doesn’t accept a job offer elsewhere she will be unemployed. With our mortgage and £30,000 each in tuition fees – and student debt – to pay, we can’t afford to do that.’
He blamed the Department of Health for ignoring doctors’ warnings and pressing ahead with the system. ‘The Labour government betrayed me and my generation of doctors,’ he said.
‘For many unemployment now beckons. All I ever wanted to be was a doctor. I’m sure that there are thousands of doctors just like me who feel the same but whose lives have been ruined by this fiasco.’