Steve McCabe MP speaks out against Government’s plans for Junior Doctors’ contracts

Steve McCabe MP has spoken out against the Government’s proposals to change Junior Doctors’ work contracts which would lead to longer working hours and a pay cut.

Steve has been contacted by many medical students and Junior Doctors who have expressed serious concerns about Jeremy Hunt’s intention to impose new working conditions. The new contract proposals include a change to the definition of standard working time from 7am till 7pm Monday to Friday, to 7am till 10pm Monday to Saturday. Many constituents have told Steve that they have spent years training and accumulating debt to practice in the medical field and they fear that the unrealistic demands will lead to many leaving the profession and deter people from entering the profession.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have echoed these concerns and have issued serious warnings that the new Junior Doctor contract put forward by the Government is an immediate and real threat to the recruitment and retention of staff. The BMA have also stressed that the proposed contract will remove vital safeguards that protect doctors from working dangerously long hours and will discriminate against women if they take maternity leave.

Steve has said that if the contract is imposed it will take its toll on Junior Doctors and will be untenable in the current working conditions of the NHS where both staff and resources are already stretched and ultimately he is concerned that this will affect the quality of patient care.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Heidi Alexander has said that Jeremy Hunt needs to withdraw the threat of contract imposition, and re-engage in a dialogue with the BMA. On 26 September 2015 the BMA announced that Junior Doctors in England will be balloted for industrial action owing to ‘unsafe and unfair’ reforms to their contract.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“The NHS is already facing a staffing crisis with many GPs retiring, I am concerned that many people with great potential will be deterred from entering the profession. It will also become increasingly difficult to retain good Doctors who are likely to be drawn to better working conditions abroad if this contract is imposed.

“It is important and fair that Junior Doctors have good working conditions because ultimately they are responsible for the quality of care that is delivered to patients in the NHS and it’s clear from the government’s proposals that they do not value our hard working Junior Doctors.  If the contract is imposed, this will not only lead to over worked Junior Doctors but is likely to compromise the care and safety of patients.”

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