Last updated:

Equalities impact assessment on the proposed changes to the junior doctor contract

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has undertaken a draft EIA (equalities impact assessment) on the changes.

This assessment states that: "Overall, the new proposals should further advance equality of opportunity for those working less than full time, the majority of whom are women or doctors with disabilities. Other additional recent or forthcoming changes – the introduction of occupational pay for shared parental leave and the forthcoming recommendations of the independent review of the gender pay gap – will also assist in advancing equality of opportunity by gender."

View the draft equalities impact assessment


Independent review

The BMA commissioned Jenni Richards QC to review the draft EIA to ensure it meets the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty and she has concluded that:"the draft EIA is (in my view) sufficient to enable the Secretary of State to discharge the due regard duty." She says it has asked the right questions and provides sufficient information to do that.

Read the full review - Jenni Richards QC

We also asked Amanda Ariss OBE, independent equalities expert, to review the analysis in the draft EIA and she has concluded: "The main conclusions of the draft EIA – that a number of the proposed changes should advance equality of opportunity and that the proposed changes that would not do so can be objectively justified – appear reasonably sound and there do not appear to be any significant equalities impacts that have been overlooked or misinterpreted."

On the introduction of the 5th nodal point, she says: "the differential impact in relation to gender is small, no group defined by protected characteristic will be worse off and the objective justification is relatively strong. A transparent change, like an additional nodal point, is likely to be fairer than a discretionary approach: discretionary approaches to pay are recognised to be subject to high levels of unconscious bias."

She also makes some recommendations, mostly concerned with equalities data and monitoring, that "are intended to assist the BMA’s future equalities work", which the BMA welcomes. These include: doing what we can to address the high non-disclosure rates in relation to disability, sexual orientation, and religion or belief; encouraging DHSC to look more at combinations of characteristics and at cumulative impacts; and considering what steps might be taken to ensure the ethnicity pay gap is considered as well as the gender pay gap.

Read the full review - Amanda Ariss OBE


VideoRuth-Anna MacQueen, co-chair of the less than full time training forum, assesses the proposed contract deal.

BlogWhat is an Equality Impact Assessment, and why is it so important?