Junior doctor England

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MPs to demand Government drops junior contract threat


MPs will today call on the Government to withdraw its threat to impose a new contract on junior doctors in England.

With a BMA-led ballot for industrial action of junior doctors in England to start next week, the Opposition is leading a parliamentary debate about the contract discussions.

The BMA briefed MPs before the debate, outlining junior doctors' key concerns about the proposed contract and why the decision was made to ballot for industrial action.

‘This is not a decision taken lightly, and we are fully aware of the implications, but such is the strength of feeling – not only within the BMA junior doctors committee, but also from junior doctors across the country – that we believe that this is the right thing to do to defend the current and next generations of junior doctors,’ the briefing says.

MPs will debate a motion that:

  • Opposes the removal of financial penalties from hospitals that protect staff from working excessive hours
  • Urges the Government to guarantee that no junior doctor will have their pay cut as a result of a new contract
  • Calls on the Government to withdraw the threat of contract imposition, put forward proposals that are safe for patients and fair for junior doctors, and return to negotiations with the BMA

The BMA briefing outlines its key issues as:

  • Removal of vital hours safeguards. Employers who make doctors work long hours without sufficient breaks would not face any penalties under the proposed contract. The BMA believes the NHS could return to having 'overworked doctors making dangerous decisions – a huge and obvious risk to patient safety’
  • Extension of plain time to 7am – 10pm Monday to Saturday. The association cannot accept that Saturday and late evening work can be considered the same as daytime work on a weekday, ‘simply because the knock on effects are so significant and will result in an undeliverable service in many areas of medicine’. The health secretary has recognised there is an issue with the proposed change.
  • End to pay progression. Some doctors will be discouraged from entering medical training by this proppsed change. It would increase financial worries for those who need to take time out of training for maternity leave, or who work part time, for family reasons. It will also discourage those already in training from undertaking research or retraining.

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