During the last EJD-Meeting in Heidelberg the French delegation reported that junior doctors who have children during their postgraduate training face severe problems. Spontaneously many delegates agreed that the reconciliation of work and family life is also difficult for junior doctors in their countries. The problems are manifold. They range from the absence of sufficient part-time training positions, to a lack of affordable child care facilities with flexible opening hours to discriminating behavior of employers towards junior doctors with small children. The discussion amongst the EJD members is also supported by research. For example a recent German survey with 2,117 participating doctors revealed that 42% of the doctors were dissatisfied with the way they can combine work and family life. Another German study amongst medical students showed that only 3,6% of the participants thought that it is advisable to have children during postgraduate training.
Due to the high interest in the topic a working group was set up which met on 15 February 2014 in Berlin. Participants from France, Norway and Germany discussed how the problem could be tackled. Furthermore, everybody felt that the EJD should offer solutions which improve the position of junior doctors with children and help them to combine work and family life. As a first step it was decided to develop two questionnaires in order to get a clearer picture on the situation in the different European countries. The first questionnaire on pregnancy and maternity, paternity and parental leave was drafted during the meeting and will shortly be sent to all delegates for further discussion and improvement.
One thing is clear: More work needs to be done and the EJD is determined to embark on it!