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BBC Scotland follows the lives of Junior Doctors in new series


BBC Scotland follows the lives of Junior Doctors in new series

It’s a gruelling life being a Junior Doctor in NHS Scotland after the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a shortage of doctors and waiting lists for lifesaving operations at an all-time high, this new series focuses on six First Year Junior Doctors (FY1s) embarking on their medical careers at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Some of the Junior Doctors featured were born and raised in Aberdeen, whilst others were lured from across Scotland, England and as far afield as Malaysia. The six First Year Junior Doctors play a vital role and their list of jobs on any given day can seem never-ending. Bloods are taken throughout a patient’s time in hospital for essential monitoring purposes, which can pose many challenges given that some people have very difficult to access veins.

Junior Doctors are also responsible for administering vital pain relief and nutritional guidance, along with assisting in life-saving surgeries. Throughout their working week, each has a folio of work and study with regular exams, all of which must be passed for them to progress to the next level in their chosen speciality.  In this series, the featured Junior Doctors tell their own stories, what they are learning and doing with all the highs and lows of life on the wards.

Meet the Junior Doctors

Bilal (25), grew up in Aberdeen and is a budding Neurologist. In the series, he gets hands on experience of intricate pre-op examinations on patients ahead of major brain surgery and also attends theatre to observe life-changing surgeries. His long-standing love of music, as a drummer in a band, is a perfect counterpoint to the everyday stresses of life on the wards.

Tobias (25), a Cambridge graduate, is a budding surgeon who even comes in to assist in theatre on his days off. Despite often finding himself on a run of 12-hour night shifts, when he’s not on the wards or helping in theatre he’s devouring medical papers, reading up on procedures in preparation for any given operation he may be able to assist with.

Abbey (25) is flat out having just started in the hospital’s Acute Initial Assessment unit, where she deals with people in real distress who often, because of continued mental and physical health concerns, find themselves in need of not only vital medical treatment but real TLC. A mental health advocate, she is keen to challenge the stigma attached to talking about mental health believing that “we all deserve the same amount of care”.

Shanan (29) did her training in Kuala Lumpur and was drawn to Scotland for its world-renowned reputation in progressive medicine. Here with her partner who is also a junior doctor, the rigours of their busy rotas can mean they are like ships that pass in the night.

Sarah (25) hails from the Borders of Scotland, though also studied in Aberdeen. Her time working across a number of departments is leading her to the conclusion that she’s likely to become a GP. Striking a life work balance is something Sarah is acutely aware of and so once a week, with a group of friends, she runs into the icy North Sea to help “wash away the woes of the week and re-set for the week ahead”.

Callum (25) is another local lad whose dedication to his burgeoning medical career is matched by his passion for Musical Theatre. When he’s not assisting with life-saving operations in the hospital’s theatres, Callum is treading the boards, entertaining Aberdeen’s theatregoers.

In the first episode – of the three-part series – Junior Dr. Bilal carries out vital pre-op checks on patient Morag ahead of her skull operation and observes a blood patch procedure on patient Lorraine, whilst Shanan tackles a tricky procedure, inserting a nasal feeding tube for an elderly patient.

Junior Doctors: Life on the Wards has been produced through an initiative launched by BBC Scotland and Screen Scotland which pairs emerging directors with seasoned production companies.

As part of the Emerging Directors project, the production companies provide training, guidance and support to the new directors, while the BBC has supported the development and production of each documentary, as well co-ordinating ‘masterclasses’ with leading industry experts. The three-part series was produced by Tern TV with Emerging Director Isa Rao directing several storylines alongside series producer/director Chris McMillan.

Junior Doctors : Life on the Wards, Wednesday, 10 pm, BBC Scotland

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