New working hours being imposed on ‘workhorses of the NHS’ after they refuse to re-enter Department of Health negotiations
NHS junior doctors have condemned a new contract imposed on them, which they fear will cut their pay by up to 40%, force them to work more antisocial shifts and put some off becoming GPs or A&E medics.
They have pledged to resist the move by ministers, which they say is “bad for patients, bad for junior doctors and bad for the NHS”. The joint leader of the 53,000 junior doctors in England affected has indicated that they may even go on strike in protest.
The contract, which will come into force next summer, will reclassify junior doctors’ normal working week, known as “plain time”, to include Saturday and stretch up to 10pm every night of the week except Sunday.
It will see the period counted as a normal working week, in which a junior doctor can work what is usually around 48 hours, change from being the 60 hours from 7am to 7pm between Monday and Friday, to 90 hours from 7am to 10pm between Monday and Saturday. They will lose out by no longer earning extra pay as evenings and Saturdays will be paid at the standard rate.
The Department of Health decided earlier this week to impose the new contract after the British Medical Association’s junior doctors committee refused to re-enter negotiations over it, despite the independent Doctors’ and Dentists’ remuneration review body recommending the new system.