Hospital Dr News

Junior doctors contract: “Recruitment is already being damaged with exodus of trainees”

Junior doctors are voting with their feet over the government’s determination to impose a new contract on them.

Trainees are now looking to register for certificates allowing them to work overseas in record numbers.

The GMC received 1,644 requests for certificates of current professional status (CCPS) – required to work abroad – in just three days last week. Usually, the regulator receives 20-25 a day.

The surge in applications began on Wednesday, the day after the government said it would impose the contract on England’s 53,000 junior doctors.

The BMA claims an imposed contract will cut trainees’ pay by up to 40%, force them to work more antisocial shifts and put some off becoming GPs or A&E medics.

Kitty Mohan, co-chair of the committee, said: “These figures should serve as a serious wake-up call to the government. There has been an outpouring of anger over plans to impose a new contact and there is a real risk that junior doctors will speak with their feet. To lose a large swath of doctors in the early stages of their careers would be a disaster for the NHS.”

There were 4,925 CCPS applications made last year. Last week’s spike takes this year’s number to 4,500, on course to beat the previous record of 5,163, recorded in 2012.

The contentious issues include the removal of annual pay progression and its replacement with pay increases only at points of responsibility; the removal of annual increments from those taking time “out of programme”, for example for research training, other additional experience, or parental leave; the removal of banding and the rebranding of evening and weekend working as ‘normal hours’ despite an increase in basic pay; and, the removal of financial penalties for trusts that breach working hours safeguards.

Unusually, a royal college has entered the fray and criticised the government approach.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said “imposition of this new contract, as currently presented, will adversely affect recruitment, retention and the morale of our trainee workforce. The consequences, gravely damaging to the health and wellbeing of children, include increased difficulty in providing 24/7 paediatric cover, increasing need for locum and agency staff, and a reduction in innovation and medical advance”.

GPs’ leaders say that the new contract further reduces the incentive to become a family doctor by removing the supplement paid to those choosing to enter general practice, designed to equalise their pay with that of those choosing hospital medicine and thereby attract people to the profession.

A DoH spokesman said: “These figures are not emigration data and do not reflect the number of doctors planning to leave the UK. We suspect this sudden spike in CCPS applications is prompted by the doctors’ trade union, which is deliberately misrepresenting our contract proposals. NHS staff are our greatest asset.”

On 13 August 2015, the BMA decided not to re-enter contract negotiations for junior doctors. On 15 September 2015 the UK Government announced it will impose a new contract on junior doctors working in England from August 2016.

The Scottish Government has confirmed it will not impose a contract on its junior doctors. Announcements are awaited from the Northern Ireland and Wales Governments.

The BMA remains committed to campaigning for a contract with:

– No expansion in hours paid at a standard rate

– Penalties for employers when juniors routinely work excessive hours

– Ensuring juniors are paid for all hours worked

– No exacerbation of the gender pay gap in the NHS or disincentivisation of less than full-time training.

 

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