Junior doctors accept £200m+ deal to boost pay and cut hours

20 Apr 00
Junior doctors have backed away from taking industrial action over pay and hours of work after a conference in Birmingham reluctantly endorsed a Department of Health package that could cost the NHS between £200m and £400m a year.

21 April 2000

More than 100 delegates from across the country agreed that, taking into account public opinion and the department's offer, a junior doctors' strike was 'neither possible nor achievable'.

But the Department of Health package could still be thrown out – all 30,000 juniors will be asked to vote on it next month and there is widespread feeling that some will remain underpaid and overworked.

While it is likely that juniors will accept the new contract, many see it as the starting point of continuing negotiations to improve their conditions.

At present, junior doctors are paid a fraction of their hourly salary for each hour worked over 40 a week. The proposed new contract, due to begin in December, has salary bands that reflect the amount and timing of out-of-hours work.

Weekly limits of 56 working hours or 72 hours of duty with adequate rest periods will be legally binding.

Nizam Mamode, the doctors' chief negotiator, said: 'Making sure that this new contract is fair and robust has been a high priority during negotiations. We will ensure that the agreed national monitoring system is effective and fair.'

Ballot papers will be sent out on May 5, and junior doctors will have three weeks to return their voting cards.


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