Junior doctor England

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Myth vs fact - junior doctor contract 2016

FY2 Adele Flowerdue and George Allan at work in the emergency department of North Manchester General hospital. manc160915. full consent.

The recent contract negotiations have been a challenging time for junior doctors, especially where fact and opinion have often been misrepresented.

Read our mythbuster to find out the true information about the contract.

Get the facts

  • Background

    Myth 1

    The BMA has just accepted the contract

    • We have stated clearly and consistently that we reject the contract and call for imposition to be lifted
    • However, our members are now being offered the new contract, many are accepting it, and we have to support them

    Myth 2

    The BMA misrepresented the contract at the roadshows

    • We presented the information available at the time
    • The BMA didn't accept the contract and therefore has not been involved in implementation
    • As a result some elements have changed
    • For example, there could not be a 'jointly developed exception reporting app' without the involvement of the BMA
    • During an industrial dispute with unprecedented strike action, we were not able to have input

    Myth 3

    Anything other than refusing to engage is helping employers bring in the contract

    • Refusing to engage locally allows employers to interpret the rules wrongly and make mistakes unchecked
    • We are getting involved in local implementation arrangements not to help and facilitate, but to challenge and improve
    • Nothing about us without us - the BMA must have a seat at the local negotiating table

    Download the mythbuster - background


  • The detail

    Myth 1

    The contract will be bad for everyone

    • Not necessarily
    • We need to remember that not all members rejected this contract
    • It will not benefit everyone, but some trainees will be transitioning to see a big pay rise and less onerous rotas due to the new safety rules
    • We must support all members: we must challenge the new contract for those who will be disadvantaged by it and make it work as well as it can for those who will benefit from it

    Myth 2

    The new contract still doesn't offer whistleblowing protection

    • Statutory whistleblowing protection covers the employer/employee relationship
    • HEE has accepted it also has significant influence over a trainee’s career – although it isn’t the employer
    • A new legal agreement extends statutory protection to the HEE/trainee relationship too
    • The loophole has been closed and the problem solved, just not in a way that helps those with claims made before the agreement came into place

    Myth 3

    The guardian can't be independent when it is employed by the trust

    • The majority of guardians are consultants or senior doctors working at the trust, and many are BMA members, so are clearly able to be independent
    • The contract specifies that the guardian cannot be someone already appointed to a management position at the trust
    • Junior doctors must be represented equally on the recruitment panel and can oppose the appointment of guardians they feel could not be independent
    • Performance review processes that require junior input are in place to remove any guardians not acting independently

    Download the mythbuster - the detail


  • At work

    Myth 1

    I'm a GP but my guardian isn't, they won't be able to understand how I work

    • There are different working patterns in each specialty
    • Working practices vary significantly across all branches of medicine
    • There cannot be one guardian per each sub-group of trainees
    • Part of their job is familiarising themselves sufficiently with the working patterns and practices of all the juniors they represent
    • The junior doctor forum can help with this

    Myth 2

    I'll only get the 8% availability allowance for working on-call

    • You will receive 8% of basic pay for the duration of your on-call period, with additional pay at the prevailing rate for the hours of work actually done on-call
    • This includes travel time to and from work, any non-medical work at home (such as writing public health reports) and giving advice over the phone

    Myth 3

    I have to give my employer first refusal on all my locum work

    • This was a feature of an earlier iteration of the new contract, which has now changed to simply require fidelity to the NHS
    • If you want to do locum work in your spare time, you must first offer your availability to the local NHS staff bank
    • If they don't need you, or can only offer work that would involve you acting down, you are then free to locum elsewhere
    • This only applies to locum work - not volunteering, providing medical support at sporting events, St Johns Ambulance, etc.

    Download the mythbuster - at work


  • The transition

    Myth 1

    My employer is unilaterally varying my employment terms

    • This isn't true
    • Employers are instructed to wait until existing contracts expire and then offer the new contract
    • So long term lead employer contracts - you may never have to work under the new terms
    • Technically there is a choice - accept the new terms or not accept the job
    • Legally this is not being forced on you, but realistically it feels like it is

    Myth 2

    You still just get your cash floor even if new contract pay is higher

    • If you have section 1 (‘cash floor’) pay protection and in the 4-year protection period your new contract pay would be higher, you receive the higher amount
    • If at any point in the 4 year period your new contract pay dips below the cash floor, you are protected again
    • You won’t earn less than your cash floor

    Myth 3

    There will no longer be monitoring and rebanding for those staying on the 2002 terms

    • Many doctors will remain on the 2002 TCS - some groups aren't due to transition to the new terms until October 2017, and those on lead employer contracts will remain on the old terms until they CCT
    • If you are still on the 2002 TCS these continue to apply in full - your employer will be in breach of contract if they don't keep allowing you to monitor and hold banding appeals

    Myth 4

    You can opt into the new contract if your pay would be higher than section 2 pay protection

    • If you were already at ST3 on 2 August 2016, you qualify for section 2 pay protection - meaning instead of a 'cash floor' you are simply paid under the terms of the old 2002 contract
    • This means you stay on the old pay scale, still get banding, annual increments, etc
    • If your pay would otherwise be higher under the new contract, you can't 'opt in' and receive the higher amount
    • Remaining on the old pay system will be more likely to benefit those training LTFT

    Myth 5

    The pay protection cash floor is based on what you earned on 31 October 2015

    • This was the original plan, however after further negotiations which delayed the timescale, this was changed
    • Your cash floor is the basic pay you earned the day before you transition to the new contract PLUS the banding for the rota you worked the day before you transition, but the band it received on 31 October 2015
    • This is to prevent retrospective rebanding claims

    Download the mythbuster - the transition