The voting has opened on proposed changes to the junior doctor contract in England.
Junior doctors are being asked to vote on a number of changes to the contract, which are the result of negotiations between the BMA, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Employers, and which seek to resolve inadequacies in the original 2016 contract.
The proposals have been endorsed by the BMA junior doctors committee, medical students committee and a host of other medical membership bodies.
- Increases to rates of pay for weekends and shifts ending after midnight
- An additional £1,000 a year extra for less-than full-time trainees
- A fifth nodal point on the pay scales of specialty trainee 6 doctors and above
- Extension of ‘section 2’ transitional pay protection until 2025
- New and increased penalties for employers when trainees work beyond safety limits
- A guaranteed annual pay uplift, in line with predicted inflation, of 2 per cent each year for the next four years.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Jeeves Wijesuriya said: ‘These talks have offered us the opportunity to move forward beyond the disputed 2016 contract, and towards a better deal for junior doctors’ working lives. As part of this process, we’ve already secured important improvements.
‘These include the ability for junior doctors to access shared parental leave, a £10m investment in rest facilities, the agreed guidance on rostering and a pledge to finally start streamlining pre-employment checks between rotations.
‘The negotiated deal will bring further improvements – the JDC has endorsed this deal as a better contract for our members.’
He added that as well as offering juniors the opportunity to make improvements to their contractual terms and day-to-day working lives, endorsing the deal would allow doctors to move on from the years of dispute that followed the introduction of the 2016 contract.
As part of the negotiations, a draft equalities impact assessment over the negotiated changes to the 2016 contract has been undertaken by the Department of Health and Social Care.
It is required to ensure the health secretary has met the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty in negotiating these changes, and highlights 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’.
The BMA is now looking to commission an independent review of the draft assessment’s findings, which will be published shortly.
Voting opens from today, with the referendum running until 25 June 2019. Junior doctors and final or penultimate-year medical students in England can vote, as can junior doctor members from the devolved nations set to be working in England from August.
Members who believe they are eligible to vote but don’t receive a referendum email should contact the BMA to ensure their contact details are up to date.
This story was originally published to announce the opening of voting. Following a majority vote from members in favour of the deal, the BMA's acceptance of the negotiated contract improvements was announced on 27 June 2019. Read more