The Government has pledged to work closely with the BMA in improving conditions for LTFT (less-than-full-time) trainees, and to improving gender equality within the NHS.
Health minister Ben Gummer wrote in a letter to BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana that changes to the contract proposals had benefited LTFT doctors, such as shortening pay progression and in transitional pay protection.
He says in the letter that it is now important for the Government to continue to work with the BMA in addressing issues that fell outside the scope of the contract, and proposes that work is carried out by the SPF (Social Partnership Forum), an organisation that brings together employers, trade unions and the Department of Health. He hopes to see some outcomes of this work by September.
Mr Gummer writes: ‘I am personally committed to working with you to identify what more can be done — which I anticipate will be largely outside the contract — to improve the experience of those returning from parental leave, those with caring responsibilities and those who suffer a disability.
‘I am keen that we should all work together to understand the size of the problem and the barriers to supporting these valued staff…
‘I believe that a specific element of the work should be around identifying any barriers to female doctors progressing at [the] same rate as male counterparts and making recommendations for addressing these.’
Mr Gummer adds that he is also concerned that there are insufficient women in leadership positions, a concern that has been expressed strongly by the BMA for many years. He says the sub-group set up by the SPF could also address this.
Dr Malawana said: ‘This letter is reassuring regarding the Government’s commitment to trying to ensure that those LTFT trainees on the current terms and conditions through transition should be able to count on those terms and conditions.
‘The JDC welcomes the commitment to working on closing the gender pay gap and trying to solve many of the issues facing all our trainees.
‘Junior doctors continue to make their decision over this contract and we hope all doctors eligible to vote will do so.’
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