Junior doctors walked out of Kingston Hospital this week for the fifth time since the row over contracts began. They joined 78 per cent of the junior doctor workforce across the country on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 in the first all-out strike since the NHS began.
The government argues that the current contract is outdated but the junior doctors say the changes are unfair, will leave them exhausted and create unsafe working conditions for staff and patients.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed changes include basic pay being increased by 13.5 per cent on average.
However, this may not end up increasing average pay because other parts of the pay package are to be curbed, including the scrapping of hours that are qualified as ‘unsociable’ for which doctors receive a higher rate of pay.
Saturday daytime hours, which are currently unsociable, will be paid at a normal rate, while extra premiums junior doctors receive for working weekend nights and Sundays will be lowered.
Currently, pay increases are based on time in the job, but the government is proposing that this system be scrapped and pay rises will be given based on assessed ‘progression’.