Doctors, who are members of Unite, have two major concerns over the new contracts for junior doctors– three years after the dispute with then health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Doctors in Unite is also calling on the British Medical Association (BMA), which is holding a referendum on the new package of its own medics from today (June 14), to widen the franchise to include Unite’s doctor members – in line with a 1950 agreement.
“We call on the BMA to widen the vote on this contract to include all junior doctors and senior medical students to offer the opportunity for all those who are affected to have a say,” said Doctors in Unite chair Dr Jackie Applebee.
“We have a universal franchise agreement with the BMA, so that Unite doesn’t negotiate on behalf of doctors separately. Therefore, the BMA should do us the courtesy of balloting all junior doctors and final medical year students.”
Doctors in Unite highlighted two areas where it thinks that the proposed deal falls short.
“Evening shifts and weekends are still not adequately valued,” Dr Applebee explained. “We deserve the opportunity for a work-life balance, family life and leisure. The anti-social nature of our shift patterns is not sufficiently recognised.
“A four-year pay deal fixed at two per cent does nothing to restore a decade of losses, and is likely to deliver below inflation pay rises for a further four years, when in real terms pay has fallen by 20 per cent over the last decade.
“Doctors in Unite do not accept the legitimacy of the contract imposed during Jeremy Hunt’s tenure, and reject the assumptions under which this review has been conducted,” she added.
“We think that this new deal that junior doctors are now voting on needs further improvement to make it acceptable to a profession working flat out in a very stressful environment. The contract is not good enough as it now stands.”
The BMA announced this week details of the junior doctors’ contract review. This review conducted with NHS Employers and the Department of Health and Social Care has proposed a number of changes to the 2016 contract which was imposed in that year.