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GP trainees left unpaid for out-of-hours shifts in parts of England

GP trainees in parts of England are missing out on compensation for their out-of-hours shifts, the BMA’s GP Committee has said.

In a newsletter to LMCs, GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said some employers had misinterpreted a clause in the previous junior doctors’ contract, ‘which is resulting in some GP trainees not being paid for out-of-hours work’.

He said there was a ‘common misconception’ that GP trainees transitioning onto the new junior doctors’ contract had already been paid for their out-of-hours work.

This was because employers wrongly believed a 45% recruitment supplement included in the 2002 contract – introduced to ensure GP and hospital trainees earn the same wage – related to out-of-hours compensation, which had been paid in advance, said Dr Vautrey.

In the newsletter to LMCs, he said: ‘Confusion has arisen due to a common misconception that the 45% supplement was ‘banding’ for OOH work, and that GP trainees that transitioned onto the new junior doctors’ contract half way through the year (such as academic and less than full time (LTFT) GP trainees) were paid for their OOH shifts in advance through the supplement.’ 

He added that this is a ‘misinterpretation of the previous contract’ and any ‘remaining OOH shifts that are needed to make up their 72 hours of out-of-hours work after transitioning should fall under the arrangements of the new contract, the main difference being that trainees should receive time off in lieu (TOIL) for these’.

Under the new junior doctor contract, which was phased in from 2016, time spent in out-of-hours is now included as part of the 40-hour working week, with trainees entitled to payment or time off in lieu if they work over their stated hours.

Dr Vautrey told Pulse there was no indication yet as to how many trainees were not being compensated for their out-of-hours shifts or how much they were owed.

However, he said: ‘We recommend that any GP trainee affected by this should exception report in the usual way to enable you to receive the time off in lieu that is owed, and if necessary contact the BMA’.