Junior Doctors to Vote on New Contract Terms

Peter Russell

June 11, 2019

Junior doctors vote this week on a proposed settlement that could bring an end to a 4-year dispute over their contract in England.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which negotiated changes with NHS Employers and the Department of Health and Social Care, recommended accepting the deal.

It said improvements had been made to the 2016 contract that would result in £90 million worth of investment for junior doctors.

"This includes a guaranteed 2% a year pay uplift in line with predicted inflation each year for the next 4 years," said Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, BMA junior doctors committee chair. "This would be the best negotiated pay deal for any NHS staff in recent years."

Negotiated Changes

Among the other changes were:

  • A weekend allowance uplift for those working 1 in 2, 1 in 3, and 1 in 6 weekends to ensure trainees are not paid less per hour for working more intense frequencies

  • Enhanced rate of pay of 37% of the hourly basic rate for shifts that finish after midnight and by 4am from December 2019

  • The 46-hours of rest currently required after working 3 to 4 consecutive night shifts would be applied to any number of rostered night shifts

  • A fifth nodal point on the pay scale at the level of ST6 introduced through a staggered approach from October 2020

  • Any doctor training less than full-time would be paid an annual allowance of £1000 for as long as they continue to train less than full-time

  • 'Section 2' transitional pay protection extended until 2025

  • Improved GP trainee mileage and confirmed supernumerary status

"It is incredibly important that we do more to ensure junior doctors feel supported in their professional careers and working lives, especially at a time when they are working harder than ever before to deliver care to the public in an under-pressure NHS," said Dr Wijesuriya.

Junior Doctors to Vote on the Package

NHS Employers said its members had worked hard to improve relationships with junior doctors. Chief Executive, Danny Mortimer, commented: "We welcome the additional investment from the government and NHS England. The agreements reached show the seriousness of all sides to review and improve the contract, to build a safe and constructive way forward for this important part of our workforce.

"We very much hope that doctors will support the investments and contract amendments, which in turn will allow the BMA to restore normal collective relationships with the NHS."

The agreement covers the period from 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2023.

If junior doctors support the deal, new terms would be introduced from August 2019 for doctors in training. If the deal is rejected, junior doctors would remain subject to the current imposed 2016 terms and conditions and stay in dispute with the Government.

The referendum opens on Friday 14th June and closes on the 25th June.

BMA members who are junior doctors or in their final or penultimate year of medical school are entitled to vote, as well as junior doctor members in the devolved nations who will be working in England from August.

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