Over 50k people have signed an online petition in support of a junior doctor strike in the UK.
This is a response to the government's plans to impose a new contract for doctors in training which is likely to increase working hours and reduce pay.
It is proposed that basic pay will increase but the definition of "sociable hours" will be changed from 0800-1900 Monday to Friday to 0700-2200 Monday to Saturday which means junior doctors will not be eligible to receive supplemental pay (non-pensionable banding supplements) for work unless it occurs outside these times.
From the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) paper, "Contract reform for consultants and doctors & dentists in training – supporting healthcare services seven days a week"
It is also implied that doctors on maternity, paternity or sickness leave, those working less than full time, and those without a training number would not be eligible for the annual incremental pay increases that most UK doctors currently receive. Instead, pay increases would correspond with stages of training/increases in responsibility (rather than time served or years of experience).
Kitty Mohan, co-chair of the BMA's Junior Doctors' Committee, suggests the following to juniors doctors:
1. The DDRB recommendations affect different people in different ways. If you have not yet managed to do so, please do read the juniors section of the DDRB report published on 16th July. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contract-reform-for-consultants-and-doctors-and-dentists-in-training-supporting-healthcare-services-seven-days-a-week
2. Talk to your colleagues at work and make sure they are as informed as you. Start with other junior doctors but please do talk to other doctors, nurses and other health professionals. We are still being contacted by juniors who have no idea what is going on and if this affects them. Let’s be clear, this affects us all.
3. Talk to your medical students, this will be their future contract, and to non-medical families and friends. Encourage them to spread the words regarding the concerns as well.
4. Many of your Royal Colleges may have already made a statement regarding junior contracts but please continue to lobby your College, Faculty or Royal Colleges. We’ve seen Royal Colleges both speak out strongly against the changes, and those who feel this isn’t their concern. The implications of a disenfranchised and devalued medical workforce affect everyone. Lobby your specialty trainee group as well – the more people who speak out against the changes the better.
5. Contact your local and regional BMA junior doctors reps and tell them your thoughts on what the next steps should be. The list of the Regional Junior Doctors Committee Chairs can be found at http://web2.bma.org.uk/rjdc
If you are a local or regional BMA junior doctor rep, please discuss these issues with your local and regional members and canvass their views on next steps over the next few days. We want to hear from as many people as possible. Or email Andrew and myself at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you to the many of you who have contacted us so far.
6. Attend one of the NHS Employers junior doctors engagement events. Details of the events can be found at NHS Employers
7. Please take to Facebook and Twitter and share your concerns. On a simple level the more voices heard, and the more concerns raised the better. It is the level of outrage by junior doctors and their supporters that has turned this into a news story. Please get involved in discussions and debates, write blogs or opinion pieces, and generally do everything you can to get out messages out there.
8. Finally, whatever your opinion of the BMA is, the protection BMA membership affords regarding our terms and conditions is unparalleled. Please remain a member or consider rejoining. This is the single biggest threat to the terms and conditions of current and future junior doctors.