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Junior doctors to be balloted on industrial action

Junior doctors are going to ballot on possible industrial action over the imposition of a contract which they say are unfair to doctors and could endanger patient safety, but the Government has claimed that GP trainees’ pay will not go down. 

The BMA’s junior doctors committee (JDC) took the decision to ballot members at its meeting on Saturday, with more details to be released over the coming weeks.

It comes as the Government categorically stated that the pay of GP trainees will not go down, and that the new supplement for GP registrars will be ‘almost identical to the system that already operates’.

The new chair of the JDC, Johann Malawana, said that the Government had ’chosen to ride roughshod over the concerns of doctors with their threat of imposition’.

He added: ’Today’s decision is a reflection of the anger felt by the thousands of junior doctors who have told us that the Government’s position is not acceptable.’

However, NHS Employers has said that GP trainees’ pay will not be affected by the changes.

In the clearest indication about GP trainee pay yet, NHS Employers said that the current supplement for GP trainees will be replaced by a ‘pay premia’ that would be targeted at shortage specialties as determined by Health Education England.

However, junior doctor leaders warned that the flexibility of the new premium means that there will be scope to reduce GP trainees’ pay depending on circumstances.

The Government last week announced that it would remove the supplement for GP trainees that equalises their pay to that of hospital junior doctors.

As the current contract stands, GP registrars receive a supplement because they work fewer hours and less out-of-hours than hospital trainees, meaning their banding and pay would be much lower without the supplement.

NHS Employers say this is this is effectively a recruitment and retention payment, to ensure that training as a GP is not financially less attractive than training in a hospital specialty.

The GP Survival group warned last week that the removal of the supplement would see GP trainee pay decrease by 31%.

In its response, the Government said it was going to replace the supplement with the pay premia, but both the BMA and the RCGP called for more clarity about what form this will take.

Following questioning by Pulse, an NHS Employers spokesperson said: ‘We have no intention of reducing GP pay. GP registrar earnings will not go down as a result of the proposed new arrangements.

‘The proposed new system would be almost identical to the system that already operates for GP trainees, except that this type of pay supplement - a flexible pay premia – could now also be paid to doctors in other shortage specialties, as well as GPs.

‘What’s more, rather than being determined solely by DDRB and the government, Health Education England would be asked to make recommendations about the supplement using its workforce expertise, so that it would be more sensitive to recruitment and retention issues, not less.’

But Dr Andrew Collier, former co-chair of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, told Pulse: ‘The concerns that we would have about the shift from the current supplement to flexible pay premia is that the flexible pay premia could be at risk at future funding reviews.

‘Trainees need a degree of certainty when choosing a specialty like general practice, but this is simply not going to be available in the new system.’

Readers' comments (27)

  • Vinci Ho

    (1)'If this can be endured, what else cannot be?;If this can be tolerated, then what can be called intolerable'(是可忍孰不可忍)
    (2)' Thou shall kill a scholar but must not humiliate him/her'(士可殺,不可辱)

    Analects(論語)

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  • Any junior Dr out there given the opportunity to vote...please vote to STRIKE

    This health secretary needs a boot up the jaksy ....the medical profession has been bullied almost into an almost terminal state. It's a process that has been going in for at least a decade. I believe the pub,it will be with you.

    Industrial action is required now...please do it for all of us.

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  • Further to the above...anyone else post on an iPad ?? Am amazed how often its auto spell check renders dodgy typing almost unintelligible

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  • Please Go for strike

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  • Vote for a strike .. You are dealing with selfish deranged neoliberal dogmatically blinded psychopaths to be frank who are acting directly contrary to the majority wishes of the Electorate who also plan to introduce anti strike legislation illegal under Ilo and Euro human rights
    In fact the consultant and GP body should do the same
    We must put an end to this disgusting abuse of the medical profession and the evil lies that have been told about us for which extreme anger is the justifiable response
    It is unethical to not confront this frankly perverse government and the huge suffering to patients it is responsible for by its gross incompetence and maladministration of the nhs
    Worse there is a distinct smell of political industrial alleged corruption behind the secretive privatisation of the nhs which is a national catastrophe Draining ten billon a year fragmenting care pathways and dumbing down staffing to the bone so the so called managers can maximise their bonuses
    Bevin must be turning in his grave at supersonic speed at this filthy money grubbing uncaring maladministration

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  • The BMA won't ballot the old boys because they are sat on 1.4 million pound pension pots and they are alright jack.

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  • rota gaps with more hours is not safe in this litigation culture for juniors especially ladies with kids ......we will freeze training if any changes in number of hours of working

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