I quit medicine to change the NHS


When I found out about Locum’s Nest and met with the team I recognised it as an opportunity to positively impact change in the NHS, system-wide. It was the change I needed after 18 months working as a junior doctor in the NHS left me feeling frustrated but inspired. Frustrated at a system that was under-resourced and over-utilised, but inspired by what was achieved daily for patients by dedicated staff, and the belief that the system could be changed to reach its incredible potential.  As a doctor I felt cornered into a role on the front line that had little chance of making an impact on the way the system operated as a whole.

I’m not alone in my state of transition. So called ‘Millennials’ are expected to have somewhere between 6 and 9 job changes in their lifetime of working (depending on what source you choose). The lifetime job is no longer a reality, with 46% reporting having left their role for a new industry in 2015. The reasons are varied, and obviously affected by the economic state in the UK - figures for job-jumpers dropped dramatically post-GFC, but perhaps the tired tune of  generation-Y being a bunch in search of fulfilment rather than security rings true. Employers, too, see the benefit of variety, with many industries feeling the affects of the ‘tech-revolution’ new eyes and wide-ranging experience can help provide the broad skill base needed to keep pace in this modern era.

That’s what I told my new bosses, anyway!

I’ve survived my first few months, and I’ve been surprised to note a lot of similarities in my role as a junior doctor and my new role with Locum’s Nest. First and foremost, I have no structured role. Not unlike a doctor, the best way to achieve a good outcome is to just say yes. Yes to exposure to all things unfamiliar (migrating from drip lines to excel spreadsheets), yes to doing a task that might not be what you thought is yours (take it on instead of passing it on) and as always, yes to coffee.

In our company, where our service is designed for the NHS – a much larger institution - we have the advantage of fluidity and flexibility in the product we produce and the service we offer, while maintaining the integrity, accountability and transparency that is expected in the NHS because our team was founded by and is staffed by people who work in the NHS – doctors like me. This ability to bypass some of the barriers to change that exist internally in large organisations means that I can use my problem solving skills, creativity and work ethic (instilled by the NHS) to achieve change more quickly, and see real improvement where our product is implemented. Working in a start-up is much more dynamic than I’m used to, and than I expected it would be. Although it is challenging to keep up, working in this environment is hugely satisfying.

Jason Peart