15 April 2005
More junior doctors are to be offered the choice of part-time work in an effort to keep them in the NHS.
A new contract agreed on April 11 between the NHS Employers and the British Medical Association makes it easier for doctors across the UK to work more flexible hours.
Although half have said they would like to take advantage of flexible hours, only one in 20 doctors is able to do so. Many trusts are reluctant to offer part-time contracts because of the expense of overtime payments. Under the new contract, payment will be more closely based on hours of work.
Simon Eccles, chair of the BMA's junior doctors' committee, said: 'I am delighted that the NHS has made this commitment to retaining staff and improving junior doctors' working lives.'
Gill Bellord, head of pay and negotiations at NHS Employers, agreed that improving the working lives of staff was vital to the future of the health service, but added: 'We also expect NHS trusts to offer more family-friendly training opportunities for full-time junior doctors.'