New NHS contract could lead to junior doctors getting a 40% pay cut.
Junior doctors are currently fighting a new NHS contract imposed on them by the Department of Health which could lead to a 40% pay cut, forcing them to do locum work and antisocial hours. They have pledged to oppose this new government contract, which they say is “bad for patients, bad for junior doctors and bad for NHS”. It is said that the affected 53,000 junior doctors may even go on strike in protest.
The move is part of the drive towards a seven day working week in the NHS. Under the new NHS contract, to be rolled out next year, junior doctor’s shift hours would end at 10pm instead of 7pm and will include Saturdays, resulting in cuts to overtime pay and salary reductions of up to 40 percent.
The Department of Health says the new contract is a better deal and will increase the basic salary for doctors, reward those who work across specialities and improve training.
Trainee doctors currently start on Foundation Year One, their first year of training with a salary of just over £22,000, which rises to £30,000 within four year period. However, before beginning their training, a trainee doctor must hold a medical degree, which can take five to six years to complete. According to the National Union of Students, studying for a medical degree in England costs at least £10,000 a year.
One junior doctor said the move would mean that his pay would go down drastically, from £31,000 to almost £23,000 plus 40% more for working evenings. “None of us feel we need to be paid more. We already work far more than our allotted hours for free as patient care requires. We just don’t want extreme pay cuts to our salaries,” he said. Junior doctors reacted with “absolute horror” to the imposition of the new NHS contract.