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Junior doctors furious after new ‘example’ rotas show them working consecutive weekends

Junior doctors have reacted with fury after new example rotas show them working both Saturday and Sunday up to three weeks in a row despite a pledge by Jeremy Hunt to never force them to work consecutive weekends.

NHS Employers – which represents health trusts across England – has released 17 typical rotas junior doctors across all parts of the health service should expect to work when new contracts come into force in August.

The rotas cover a period of between four and 16 weeks with frequent shifts on both Saturdays and Sundays.

Doctors also pointed to numerous errors on the example rotas – including one which suggested they would be expected to work for 48 hours straight on certain weekends.

Some medics suggested the example rotas seem to underestimate the number of hours doctors will be excepted to work prompting fears they will be asked to work even more weekends.

NHS Employers released a statement following the uproar saying current guidance stipulating junior doctors working consecutive weekends “should be avoided where possible” but there was no guarantee.

In his speech to MPs he said: “With the new contract, the maximum number of hours that can be worked in one week will be reduced from 91 to 72, the maximum number of consecutive nights doctors can be asked to work will be reduced from seven to four.

“The maximum number of consecutive long days will be reduced from seven to five; and no doctor will ever be rostered consecutive weekends”.

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