BMA to hold referendum on improvements to junior doctor contract

The BMA is to hold referendum on proposed improvements to the junior doctor contract

Junior doctor members of the BMA are to be asked to vote on proposed improvements to the junior doctor contract in England. The improvements have been negotiated between the BMA junior doctors committee, NHS Employers and the Department of Health and Social Care.

The BMA junior doctors committee has endorsed the offer which would see changes resulting in a total of £90m worth of investment over a four-year period for junior doctors. The deal includes:

  • Improvements in rest period entitlements and safer working hours limits.

  • Increases to rates of weekend pay.

  • £1,000 a year extra allowance for all less than full time trainees.

  • Enhanced rate of pay for those working shifts finishing after midnight and by 4am.

  • Recognition of training requirements in rostering.

  • New and increased penalties for employers when trainees work beyond safety limits.

Additionally, the agreement includes a guaranteed two per cent pay rise every year for the next four years.

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, BMA junior doctors committee chair, said: “The BMA junior doctors committee has over the past three years been lobbying and negotiating hard for substantial additional investment and changes to the current junior doctor contract to make it fairer for them and in turn, to support better care for patients.

“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.

“The BMA has scored major victories for junior doctors by securing enhanced shared parental leave for trainees and extra funding for rest and fatigue facilities around the country, following worrying complaints about over worked doctors sleeping on floors or being unable to recuperate during night shifts.

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“The proposed deal contains other significant enhancements to further improve the pay, conditions and training opportunities for junior doctors across the NHS and are a result of a new collaborative, constructive negotiation process that has learned from the mistakes of the past.

“There is of course a great deal more that needs to be done and junior doctors will remain at the forefront of campaigns for a better funded, well-staffed and publicly run health service. We believe these proposals are a major step in the right direction for our workforce and our NHS, and we have endorsed these improvements to our members in the upcoming referendum.

“If agreed we will be working with NHS Employers and the Department of Health and Social Care for these changes to be implemented in England as soon as possible. If rejected at referendum trainees would remain on the current imposed 2016 terms and conditions and remain in dispute.”

The referendum will run from 14 June to 25 June and is open to all junior doctor BMA members in England and medical student members who are in their final or penultimate year of medical school, as well as junior doctor members in the devolved nations who will be working in England from August.

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