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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Fri 06-Nov-15 18:15:49

Guest post: The government on junior doctors - "We're committed to the values of the NHS"

In response to our guest post from mother and junior doctor Taryn Youngstein, Ben Gummer MP outlines the government's arguments for the proposed contract changes

Ben Gummer

MP for Ipswich

Posted on: Fri 06-Nov-15 18:15:49

(90 comments )

Lead photo

"Our proposed reforms are about delivering a fairer, safer deal for doctors and patients."

Junior doctors working in the NHS are among the best in the world. They are the leaders of tomorrow and with over 50,000 across the country, the backbone of medical care in our hospitals.

The debate around proposed reforms to their contracts has highlighted their passion and dedication. That's why this week's firm contract offer from the Government and NHS Employers is important.

The Government has been clear that our proposed reforms are about delivering a fairer, safer deal for doctors and patients. This proposal builds on the cast-iron guarantees that the Government has already set out on better basic pay, a shorter working week and improving patient safety.

In order to deliver safe patient care around the clock, seven days a week to patients, we need a culture of safe working hours for NHS staff. The current junior doctors' contract incentivises long hours by rewarding those that work above and beyond the legal limit. Our proposal will change that.

Contrary to suggestions of a return to the long hours of the past, our proposals will reduce hours. The new contract will be based on no junior being required to work more than an average of 48 hours per week, with tougher limits on unsafe hours - including a new maximum working week of 72 hours, down from 91. Employers will be banned from scheduling any shifts over 13 hours too. This will all help to reduce burnout and improve patient safety, so junior doctors can deliver the very best care.

In order to deliver safe patient care around the clock, seven days a week to patients, we need a culture of safe working hours for NHS staff.


We are proposing an end to the 'week of nights' experienced by many junior doctors, with a new limit of four night shifts in a row and are introducing a new limit of five consecutive long days.

No junior doctor will receive a pay cut compared to their current contract either. Around three quarters of junior doctors moving to the new contract will see an increase in pay, with the remainder getting pay protection. There are a very small minority - around one per cent of junior doctors - who are forced to work excessive hours under the current contract and who will be better protected under the new contract against breaching hours limits. Junior doctors will get better basic pay based on progression through training instead of time served, a shorter working week and improved patient safety.

As the British Medical Association (the union for junior doctors) has now begun balloting its members for strike action, it's important to be clear about how we're making pay fairer.

We will remove the current situation where two doctors working very different hours can be paid the same. We will remove the complex banding payments system and replace it by paying doctors for hours worked. As opposed to misleading statements by the BMA, there will be around an 11% increase to junior doctors' basic pay - with proportionately higher pay for unsocial hours.

To support this offer, junior doctors can now log on to a pay calculator where they can work out projected pay. This can be found at here.

Everyone working in the NHS wants to give patients the same high quality care every day of the week and we know that junior doctors already work at weekends, providing good, safe care to patients.

But the current pay structures result in some hospitals rostering three times more senior cover during the week compared to the weekend. Junior doctors that do work weekends already often don't have the right level of support to deliver the safest care we all want.

Over the next few weeks, junior doctors will be invited to briefing sessions with Medical Directors and HR Directors at their NHS Trusts over the next few weeks to elaborate on the offer I have laid out here.

We're completely committed to the values of the NHS - the same values that encourage aspiring doctors to take up a career in medicine. That is why we have stated that a new contract will be in place from August 2016. The Government is very clear that it will not remove this timetable for putting in place a new contract. I hope this firm offer will allow junior doctors to make decision based on fact. Once again, we invite the BMA to come back to the table and negotiate on the detail of this offer to secure a deal that rewards doctors fairly and has safe care at its heart.

By Ben Gummer

Twitter: @ben4ipswich

Toughasoldboots Fri 06-Nov-15 18:41:57

Can we not have any more threads on this? Please

squidzin Fri 06-Nov-15 18:53:59

What an utter load of the biggest bollocks I have ever read.

The Tories are closing the NHS. End of.

Diggum Fri 06-Nov-15 18:57:21

Yes you're all sweetness and light.

Not trying to drive the public sector into the ground in order to sell the pieces away to corporate interests at all. No no.

I'm not even from the UK and I can see through this rubbish. I'm so sick of spin. I'm Irish and our lot are at the exact same with our health service.

Pull the other one.

sugar21 Fri 06-Nov-15 19:18:43

Absolute rubbish. You treat the public and the drs like idiots.
If you think we cannot see through your plan to make valued members of society work until they drop, you are deluded
This ridiculous plan which is obviously the start of the end of the NHS, and the cutting of peoples tax credit will hopefully be you and your cronies downfall
I have a family member who is a junior Dr and he like most junior Drs will be emigrating.

There is an old adage that says
You can fool some of the people all of the time
You can fool all of the people some of the time
But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Chillercabinet Fri 06-Nov-15 19:39:07

Come on, no one is falling for this clone-speak claptrap any more. Your 'cast-iron' guarantees aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Chillercabinet Fri 06-Nov-15 19:41:29

BTW most doctors are not getting a pay cut next year, but after 'pay protection' comes off in 3 years they'll all be sold down the river. Why are health ministers able to get away with such dishonesty? If doctors deceived people like this they'd be struck off.

sugar21 Fri 06-Nov-15 19:44:08

Plus you don't mention the huge amount of money Drs have to pay in indemnity insurance and course fees

wonkylegs Fri 06-Nov-15 20:03:16

The government maths just don't add up, please stop assuming the public and drs are stupid.
Negotiation is a two way process, not insisting one party accepts everything they are told - that is imposition and is clearly an unfair way to proceed.
Your assurances on safety and working hours have no teeth and are meaningless, cutting the CQCs resources and then saying they will monitor (which they have no resources to do) retrospectively will mean shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.
So far your press releases have been misleading at best, and downright dishonest at worst.
It is sickening that the current government seem hell bent on breaking the workforce and the institution that is the NHS. No-one believes that the NHS is perfect and it does require some reform but reform does not mean breaking it and those that currently work so hard on the frontline.

Alwayssunny Fri 06-Nov-15 21:03:06

What a crock.

Good grief please don't treat us all as idiots.

You manipulate the media to this agenda too and it is sickening.
Don't you have relatives yourselves who might require the NHS at some point? Or are you all getting private cover so don't care.

Tiredemma Fri 06-Nov-15 21:04:59

I work in the NHS. I have never felt so demoralised.

Bullshit- all of it. There is a saying isnt there- the most dangerous liars on the ones who truly believe their own lies.

That would be you lot.

NorthernLurker Fri 06-Nov-15 21:05:39

Female doctors will be 'junior' usually well in to their thirties. Taking time out to have children is already detrimental to their career as it prolongs the 'junior' time. Now it will be detrimental to their pay too. These are highly trained and skilled people. Why should they return, post maternity leave, to a system that values them less for taking that leave and where they will be expected to work way past a child's bedtime or at weekends for no different pay than they'd get working 'office hours'? The same applies to any new father who wishes to take extended parental leave and to any doctor who moves in to research during their 'junior' years. Private industry will value their skills far more highly than this government does and we will lose them. Not only to medical work abroad but to other industries. And all the time, day by day there are more people being admitted to our hospitals.

This government should be incentivising staff to work in the NHS. They don't seem to appreciate, for all the rhetoric, how much they need junior doctors. They will find out if they push this unfair contract.

loosechange Fri 06-Nov-15 21:19:02

I do not believe this government is committed to the values of the NHS. I think you are systematically trying to destroy it, so you can state it has failed, that it is not fit for purpose, and then you will announce the need for a part private healthcare.

You blame the doctors for the failings of the service, all those consultants who don't and won't work weekends. All those junior doctors who work long hours because the culture incentivizes them to. (Have you heard of hours monitoring?) The underlying message being if these people didn't demand so much money you would have the money you need to offer the service you wish to deliver.

After you have worked on the image of the doctors you will move onto the unsociable hours of the nurses. Who can not afford to lose the extra money for working unsocial hours.

And you will work systematically through the structure of the NHS until you have undermined and undervalued all of the workers to the public, enabling you to push through pay cuts marketed as better value for service.

The service is already on its knees. You will be the government remembered for breaking it.

PacificDogwod Fri 06-Nov-15 23:19:48

Bull. Shit.
That is all angry

HamaTime Fri 06-Nov-15 23:40:31

What a load of bollocks.

You're gunning for the drs first and then it will be the AHPs and nurses. Why the fuck should I work unsocial hours for no more pay just because you have decided to re-classify what unsocial is? Do you think my childcare on a Friday night or a Saturday evening is as cheap or as easy to arrange as it is on a Wednesday morning?

Maybe you think I should work for free, because it's woman's work, and my childcare can work for free too, because that's also woman's work. Meanwhile you get to spend weekends and holidays with your family and if you have to work beyond 7.30pm you get a meal allowance because that's somehow 'unsocial hours' hmm

Oh, and you can't bang on about wanting to negotiate when 22 of the 23 points 'on the table' are non negotiable. Well you can, but it's the grown up equivalent of taking your ball home.

The 'pay calculator' you have linked is, allegedly, rigged. Someone looked at the coding and it is set to put pay loss at zero if the new pay comes up as less than the old pay. It also has a load of bizarre shift options. You may as well have linked a random number generator.

paulazed Sat 07-Nov-15 00:46:36

Mr Gummer, please do not insult me. The values you seem to be committed to are the same as those of the Minister of Health -Jeremy Hunt- who has published a book where he explicitly declared his belief that the NHS should be privatised. You are not qualified to comment on the issues surrounding this IMPOSED contract. If you had any health care experience or qualification you might demonstrate the capacity to listen to the people doing the job and fighting to improve the NHS. When over 50 THOUSAND doctors are shouting from the rooftops that this contract is unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors you should listen with humility if you did indeed had a will to genuinely keep the NHS alive.

Hatethis22 Sat 07-Nov-15 01:10:51

The NHS is amazing. Something to be truly proud of.

The Conservatives are ideologically opposed to the idea of free healthcare and are determined to stamp it out.

Haven't you got more pressing things to do than peddling bullshit on here, Ben? Surely there are some people with disabilities still receiving state aid? Some poor, working families you haven't yet stripped of an income that allows them to feed their children? Some publically owned housing stock still available for affordable rent?

nocoolnamesleft Sat 07-Nov-15 01:45:00

www.greenbenchesuk.com/2012/09/jeremy-hunt-co-authored-book-in-2009.html

Nice little break down of the book that the oh so lovely Mr Jeremy Hunt co-authored. Not a good background for someone actually put in charge of the NHS.

iPaid Sat 07-Nov-15 02:18:06

I have a family member who is a junior Dr and he like most junior Drs will be emigrating

Seriously? There are 50,000 vacancies for doctors in Australia and NZ?

Hatethis22 Sat 07-Nov-15 02:36:08

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and anywhere else they want to go.

From a September Guardian article

'The General Medical Council received 1,644 requests for certificates of current professional status (CCPS) – required to work abroad – in just three days last week. Usually, the regulator receives 20-25 a day.'

vlm1 Sat 07-Nov-15 07:41:36

I think he only needs one job! The point is we already don't have enough Drs and a significant proportion have left. More are sure to follow after this.

tuesday123 Sat 07-Nov-15 08:18:42

Ben gummer - who is the bigger fool? Jeremy hunt or you for quoting him.
Facts:
* Jeremy wants to privatise the NHS
* The total pay bill has not changed but yet you want to cover two more days service in the NHS - will this be for free goodwill by doctors?!?
* you are quoting journals that have asked you to publicly apologise for misquoting them
* you are quoting research that does not exist - people do not die at weekends because of less doctor cover
* your new proposals suggests that other healthcare workers are going to be next to suffer from your plans but yet you don't publicise this
* we respect our doctors and value them. You should to.
* you don't seem to have much support on here - crawl back to jeremy andet him know your efforts have failed.

MargoReadbetter Sat 07-Nov-15 08:19:24

"Trust me, I'm a spin doctor" would inspire confidence only in Hunt when it comes to manipulating the media.

vm3291 Sat 07-Nov-15 08:20:20

Lack of hours monitoring (so what you're contracted to work vs what you actually work could differ massively), low morale, rotas which offer no continuity for patients, the possibility of workibg every Saturday forever because it's a 'normal working day' and pay protection until 2019, in the hope we will sell our more junior colleagues down the river (they will start on much lower pay). It's cynical and bullying and I'm so heartened to see mumsnet posters don't believe a bloody word of it.

The question is, provided our consultants cover all emergency work so patients are safe, would you support us if we went on strike??

MargoReadbetter Sat 07-Nov-15 08:22:24

The current proposals would cut pay to doctors and work them more.

The pay calculator is inexact and confusing. The little that is actually shown, despite the guff and spin, still shows real pay cuts.

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