Junior doctors’ contract deal agreed

The fourth junior doctors' strike on 6 April 2016

A deal has been reached between UK government negotiators and the British Medical Association (BMA) over the junior doctor contract, arbitration body the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), which facilitated ten days of negotiations, announced on 18 May 2016.

Full details of the contract agreed will be published at the end of May 2016 and must be agreed by a referendum of the BMA’s junior doctor membership before it can be implemented.

Under the deal, overall basic pay will rise by just over 10% – lower than the 13.5% rise planned under the contract health secretary Jeremy Hunt was planning to impose from August 2016.

Doctors will not be paid at a higher rate for working on weekend days, but those rostered to work more than six weekends per year will receive an additional weekend premium; ranging from 3% for those who work one weekend in eight to a 10% boost for those working one in two weekends. An 8% premium will be paid to doctors on call at weekends, over and above any additional weekend premium they may earn.

The Department of Health has insisted the changes are cost neutral, and Hunt said the deal will deliver “important changes to the junior doctors’ contract necessary to deliver a safer seven day NHS”.

Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA junior doctor committee, said: “This represents the best and final way of resolving the dispute and this is what I will be saying to junior doctors in the weeks leading up to the referendum on the new contract.”

The referendum is expected to take place between 17 June 2016 and 1 July 2016, which will allow time to send junior doctors details of the contract and for the BMA to run a roadshow to explain it in more detail. The result of the referendum is expected on 6 July 2016.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2016, Vol 296, No 7889;296(7889):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201182