The next generation of doctors has started work at Watford General Hospital and at other sites run by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The 55 new junior doctors, known as foundation year ones - or F1s - began shadowing more senior doctors, surgeons and consultants across a range of specialties last week. 

These include working in Acute Admissions Unit (AAU), general surgery, oncology (cancer) and urology (the branch of medicine that focuses on diseases of the male and female urinary tract and male reproductive organs). They began working under supervision but more independently this week.

In their first year, F1 doctors work across three departments to gain experience in different aspects of clinical care. 

The Trust’s Medical Director, Dr Mike Van Der Watt, said: "I’m delighted that these doctors are starting their careers in west Hertfordshire. Our three hospitals are an excellent place to put years of training into practice and learn new skills.

"The role of our senior doctors and consultants in mentoring and training them over the year is invaluable.  They can both learn from each other. I know the senior staff will teach them all they need to know to become excellent doctors and progress in their careers. 

"The F1 year is tough but I hope that they enjoy their time with us, and even choose to make a career in west Hertfordshire.  Many of our senior consultants and surgeons started at our hospitals."

F1 doctor, Dr Jess Ball is based in the breast surgery team.  

She said: "The preparation and shadowing week have been quite full on with a mixture of clinical and lecture based work.  The shadowing has been really useful and I think I would be very lost if there had been no opportunity to do it. 

"It is quite hard learning all the new systems as well as coming to terms with being a doctor."

Dr Chris Hodgkinson is based in the vascular surgery team.  

He added: "The first few days were a whirlwind and I know there is so much to take in but I'm really looking forward to learning as much as possible over the next few months. 

"We have spent many years studying to be doctors, it is now time to put it into practice."