Victoria Atkins’ Wikipedia page hit with mocking edits after ‘doctors in training’ remark

Victoria Atkins’ Wikipedia page hit with mocking edits after ‘doctors in training’ remark
Health secretary calls junior doctors 'in training’ amid ongoing strike row
Breakfast, BBC

Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, has been branded a “junior minister in training” on her own Wikipedia page, after describing junior doctors as “doctors in training” during appearances on breakfast television this week.

Atkins, who replaced Steve Barclay in the top job in November’s reshuffle, gave the remarks amid an ongoing strike by the doctors over pay, which is set to last until 7am on Saturday (December 23).

“We’ve managed to find a fair and reasonable settlement for speciality doctors as well. The last cohort is that of junior doctors - or ‘doctors in training’ as I prefer to call them – and they sadly, to my great disappointment, they walked out of our negotiations and then called these strikes,” she told BBC Breakfast.

The British Medical Association (BMA) defines junior doctors as “qualified doctors in clinical training”, with a medical degree and up to nine years of experience as a hospital doctor, or up to five years working to become a GP.

They all work under the supervision of a senior doctor, as they are not yet qualified to practise independently.

In a news release published in July, the BMA cited a survey which found three-quarters of respondents found the term ‘junior doctor’ to be inappropriate, and mentioned a motion at the 2023 Annual Representative Meeting calling for the trade union to drop the term, which was passed in full.

Atkins has since been slammed online for her comments, with Twitter/X users accusing her of “shocking ignorance”.

And of course, Wikipedia editors were quick to update her page on the site accordingly.

Atkins went on to double down on the use of the term “doctors in training”, responding to her Labour counterpart Wes Streeting with a screenshot of the BMA using the same term in a tweet from March 2017.

The Department of Health and Social Care also responded to the criticism, writing on Twitter that “the term junior doctor is being discontinued by [the BMA]”.

“To respect this and so we can continue to distinguish between different groups of doctors, we are using the contractual term ‘doctors in training’ as collectively agreed with the union,” they said.

It’s not the first time Atkins has come under fire as health secretary, as earlier this month she inaccurately claimed industrial action has “really had an impact on waiting lists”, when it was pointed out that waiting lists were rising before the coronavirus pandemic.

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