Consultant paediatrician who left the NHS urges other doctors to consider their options

  • Dr Clare Betteridge explains some of the issues facing NHS staff

A consultant paediatrician who left England's National Health Service in 2017 to work in Guernsey says "doctors are leaving the NHS in their droves because morale is so low".

It comes as consultants in England staged a 48-hour strike this week in a dispute over pay - the latest in a series of walkouts by NHS staff frustrated about how they are being treated.

Dr Clare Betteridge wants more medical professionals to consider the Channel Islands - which operates separate health services - as an attractive option to continue their careers.

She explained: "There are alternatives to working in the NHS. Doctors are leaving in their droves, the morale is so low because of the stress you're under, the public criticism, the stress of the job, the hours, the pay is OK but it's not brilliant.

"If we can show that there are other places to work that actually give you quite a good quality of life, I think that's really important."

Dr Betteridge adds while there are opportunities in Guernsey, the unique challenges of working in a small island can make it hard to adjust.

She said: "The difficulties are you have to be pretty experienced because there's nobody round the corner to ask so unfortunately the nearest expertise is a boat ride away.

"You have to want to live on an island and work without junior doctors so there are a lot of challenges to recruiting doctors for Guernsey.

"We have had doctors come who haven't settled in the island which is understandable and left within a short period of time."

Guernsey spent almost £12 million on temporary or agency health workers in 2022 - more than double the previous year - but it is hoped that more local people who study medicine in the UK can be encouraged to return after graduation.

Dr Betteridge added: "Having our own students from Guernsey that have gone through medicine already know what it's like here.

"We are a consultant-delivered service so they're not going to come back straight away but hopefully they can see what a great place this is to work ... we're really working for the future."

Want to find out more about the stories making the headlines? Don't miss Channelcast - the Channel Islands current affairs podcast brought to you by ITV News: