Should the Union take a stance against the recent changes to Junior Doctor contracts?
What the idea is about:
In September the government decided to impose new junior doctor contracts from August 2016, despite months of negotiations with the British Medical Association – the Union for doctors – who condemned the majority of the changes due to risk to patient and doctor safety.
This policy would mandate the Union to oppose and condemn the contract changes facing current and future junior doctors from August 2016.
I would like to see the Union take a stance against these changes so that they can represent students, when they can’t necessarily represent themselves. I want to see LUU help to raise awareness of these changes amongst the student body, and illustrate how it will affect students as well as lobby the University to represent their students.
Why have you proposed it?
· The term ‘junior doctor’ describes almost every UK doctor that isn’t a consultant.
· The new contract changes redefine ‘sociable hours’ to 7am-10pm Monday-Saturday. This means that working at 9pm on a Saturday will be paid the same as 9am on a Monday. It also removes vital safeguards that stop employers over-working doctors.
· Many doctors are also facing a 15-40% pay-cut, depending on their role. Although there is a 15% increase in ‘base rate’, all banding of jobs is being scrapped. This is the system that allows doctors’ pay to be reflected in the responsibilities they take and the amount of anti-social hours they are required to work.
· The new contracts are a huge disadvantage for women who take maternity leave, those needing breaks in their training or those spending time in academic medicine. These people no longer have any pay protection and start at the bottom of the pay-scale.
· Contracts could be incredibly damaging for specialities such as emergency medicine, psychiatry and general practice, who are already under incredible strain. GPs alone are facing a 30% cut in their pay.
For many medical students, this is a looming prospect. Current 5th year students become junior doctors in 10 months and will have no option but to enter these contracts. However, as students, we can’t strike. Campaigning is very difficult due to our schedules and our professional restrictions in which we are bound the General Medical Council. Anything we say in the media could have huge negative implications on our careers, the medical school and the profession itself.