Junior Doctor Contract Agreed

The government and British Medical Association (BMA) have negotiated a new contract after a week of sitting around the table.  A new pay structure for evening and weekend work is included in the new contract.

Under the deal, Saturdays and Sundays will attract premium pay if doctors - the vast majority of whom are expected to - work seven or more weekends in a year.

Doctors will receive a percentage of their annual salary for working these weekends - ranging from 3% for working one weekend in seven to up to 10% if they work one weekend in two.

Any night shift - on any day - which starts at or after 8pm and lasts more than eight hours, and which finishes at or by 10am the following day, will also result in an enhanced pay rate of 37% for all the hours worked.

The deal also sets out systems of payment for doctors who are on call.

This allowance is applied as 8% of basic pay over and above any weekend allowance that has been paid.

Across the board, there will be an average basic pay increase of between 10% and 11%, down from the 13% put forward originally by the Government.

There are also new agreements aimed at reducing discrimination to anyone who takes leave to care for others, such as new mothers or those on parental leave.

This includes accelerated training support to enable people to catch up, such as mentoring and study leave funding.

Some elements of the new contract, if approved in the BMA's ballot of junior doctors, will be implemented in August and all junior doctors will move on to the new terms between October and August 2017.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "We welcome this significant agreement which delivers important changes to the junior doctors' contract necessary to deliver a safer seven day NHS.

"The talks have been constructive and positive and highlighted many areas outside the contract where further work is necessary to value the vital role of junior doctors and improve the training and support they are given.

"This deal represents a definitive step forward for patients, for doctors and for the NHS as a whole."

He also told BBC News: "Well I think it's a very positive day for NHS patients and actually for doctors as well. From the Government's point of view we've got all the red lines that we needed to improve weekend care.

"The extra cost of employing another doctor at the weekends will fall by about a third under this agreement, which will make it much easier for hospitals to improve care at weekends."

He added: "But I think we also have to reflect that this has been a very bitter dispute. There are lessons to be learned on all sides.

"I think there was a message in the industrial action that unfortunately took place that there was a lot of unhappiness amongst junior doctors about things that weren't necessarily to do with their contract, to do with the way their training operates, to do with the quality of life in those very, very tough jobs.

"And we want to engage positively and constructively to address those issues because they are the backbone of the NHS."

Chair of the BMA Dr Johann Malawana said he was pleased to have reached todays agreement.  He will be presenting the contract to a ballot of senior doctors before the BMA members take vote in June.   

Posted on Friday May 20