Junior doctor Contract

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Accepting a new post

The new junior doctors' contract

Keep up to date with developments on the new junior doctors' contract in England and how upcoming changes will affect you.

For any specific queries relating to your current contract, please email us

From 2015, all offers for specialty training posts are co-ordinated electronically through Oriel.

Read our comprehensive guide on applying to specialty training.

Since the implementation of Modernising Medical Careers, junior doctors have been under increasing pressure in an employment market of limited training options.

Junior doctors can be faced with very difficult choices to make about their future employment, often with little information and within very short timescales.

This guidance gives general advice when accepting an offer, notice period, contracts and code of practice according to nation.

What to consider

  • What to ask when accepting a job offer

    When accepting any offer of a post or training programme, you should ask for confirmation of the following:

    • expected start date
    • annual pay and the incremental point you will start post on
    • incremental date
    • when you will be issued with a contract of employment*
    • the pay-band of your first post
    • the job description for the first post
    • that completion of the programme will lead to a) CCT, b) CESR or CEGPR or c) further competition for higher specialty training.
    • how any application for flexible training will now progress, if this is applicable to you** in some specialties it may be relevant to ask whether the programme is Themed
    • intended to lead directly into a particular specialty later
    • will it require further competition at a later stage with respect to which specialty you will enter after core training (e.g. with medical specialties);
    • if further competition is required to reach the higher levels of specialty training, how likely are you to be displaced by any new applicants (eg SAS grades) coming in at ST3
    • the future posts in the rotation - those that are confirmed and those that are likely or possible - including the name of the employer, the locations of each hospital site and whether there is any likelihood of you having to work at peripheral units
    • the pay-band of future posts the removals and associated expenses policy that operates within the deanery or at your employer and confirmation it complies with national guidance. Also ask for confirmation that you are eligible for such expenses
    • the accommodation available at each employer on the rotations
    • information about each employer's doctors' mess
    • information about the teaching and training opportunities provided in each post
    • details of the rota you will work, including the number of doctors on the rota and the out of hours commitment
    • the rota template and details of the first six months of shifts
    • the employer's policy on the booking of annual leave
    • your intention to take annual or study leave on planned dates
    • details of ancillary backup - for example phlebotomy services
    • out of hours catering facilities available
    • standard of on call accommodation
    • whether 24 hours locum cover is provided for annual leave or study leave

    You should ask for this information as early as possible so that you can rely on it at a later stage. 

    If it is the deanery that is offering you a place on a programme, they may not be able to provide you with all this information e.g. rota details or annual leave policies, so you should write to at least your first employer on the rotation requesting the missing information.

    The offer of a training programme by a deanery or Unit of Application is not the same as being offered a contract of employment. If this is the case, there must be an element of flexibility in the organisation of an individual's training placements to allow there to be true offer and acceptance of each period of employment on the training programme.

    Therefore, if your offer is made by a deanery, we would advise that you ask how much choice you will receive in determining the future posts on the rotation. 

    If the deanery responds that you will be 'placed' and therefore will have little or no choice, we advise you clarify with the deanery what arrangements will be made if you decline to rotate into a future placement, for example if it is too far away from your home.

    * Before signing, BMA members should have their contract checked to ensure that it complies with the national model.

    **NB you may not wish to reveal at this point your desire to train flexibly

  • Code of practice

    In order to assist in the process of applying for a job, accepting an offer and taking up your new post, the BMA has agreed a Code of Practice on the Provision of Information for Postgraduate Medical Training.

    This explains what information you should expect to receive from employers at each stage of the employment process. It also explains your responsibilities to provide accurate, timely information.

    Read more about the Code of Practice

    The Code of Practice has been adopted in all four of the UK's devolved nations:

    England (updated June 2017)

    Northern Ireland

    Scotland

    Wales (previously England and Wales)

  • Notice periods

    Each post that you accept will have a minimum period of notice attached to it that applies to both when you wish to hand in your notice and when the employer wishes to give you notice.

    The notice periods are outlined in section 195 and 196 in the Terms and Conditions of Service. For junior doctors the following notice periods apply:

    Role Notice period
    FHO1 2 weeks 
    FHO2, StR(FT), StR(CT), SHO  1 month
    SpR or StR 3 months
  • Contracts or statements of particulars

    Contracts or statements of particulars should be made available as quickly as possible and may or may not be signed prior to the first day of work. However, there is a requirement that they be provided within two months of commencement of the post. 

    If no objection is made to the contract or statement, it may be deemed to have been accepted by the employee. Adequate medical staffing resources should be allocated to allow doctors to receive contracts of employment as early as possible.

    For all doctors in training posts, the contract offered by the trust must be the nationally agreed model contract. In cases where the appointment is to a rotation, details of the policy in place on claiming removal and associated expenses should be made available, and the base hospital should be designated by agreement.

    See our guide on understanding your terms and conditions of employment