27th May 2016

The New Junior Doctor Contract

The BMA, NHS Employers and the Secretary of State for Health have come to an agreement to form a new contract for the junior doctors in 2016.

After a long period of negotiation and of action by junior doctors, the BMA has come to an agreement of a new contract terms for junior doctors. The agreement has been announced by the Acas along with statements from the BMA and the Secretary of State of Health. The full contract will be published at the end of May this year, which will include an agreed term between February negotiations and new provisions included in the Acas statement.

The February negotiations included following provisions:

  • New banding system for unsocial hours with payments to all work done to support seven-day service delivery
  • New limits on working hours for junior doctors
  • Replacement for incremental pay system for attainment and responsibility rather than time serving

The new contract reflects commitment for the following parties:

  • Patient and junior doctor safety
  • High-quality training experience for junior doctors
  • All terms and conditions for all diverse characteristics of junior doctors
  • Healthy working environment for junior doctors for greater contribution through out the week
  • Revisions and improvements to protect reward and retain the workforce.

The new proposal will have an affect on the doctors pay rates and their decisions on choosing their specialties. It specifies impacts on switching their specialty and taking a time out in their careers for any reasons.

Government’s view on the new contract:

The Review Body on Doctor’s and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) makes recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health. UK government has recommended for the change in junior doctors contracts after the Review Body concluded its recommendations with following considerations:

  • The need to recruit, retain and motivate doctors and dentists
  • Variations in local/ regional labour markets and their effects on doctors and dentists recruitment and retention
  • Funds available to the NHS

The DDRB’s six criteria to guide the recommendations:

  • Improve patient care
  • Maintain respect and trust for consultants and leaders and professionals for junior doctors
  • Local implementation with credibility and practicality
  • Appropriate remuneration to recruit retain and motivate junior doctors
  • Constructive and continuing relationships
  • Affordability

Doctor’s view:

The basic pay rate for junior doctors will be increasing which is currently around £22,000 for a newly qualified doctor. It has proposed a fairer deal for all medical and dental trainees pay in relation to actual working days.

The proposed standard working hours for doctors will be increased by 30 hours per week, which is 7am to 10pm on Mondays to Saturdays.

DDRB’s proposed new pay system for junior doctors tends to improve patient outcomes across the week, with unsocial hours payments. The new reward system will pay for the excellence. The pay and progression will be determined by their responsibility and professional competence.

The DDRB is also proposing for removal of the GP registers Supplement for training GP trainees, which is a 31% of a trainee’s pay. DDRB supposed that this would encourage more doctors in General Practice.

The new contract has aroused some other concerns regarding choosing specialties. As the new contract standard hours may discourage doctors to choose specialties with high level of antisocial hours like A&E and Emergency Medicine.

Those doctors who wish to switch another specialties later on may need to start again from the bottom of the pay scale.

For more updates on New junior doctor contract, visit Blog page regularly.