Consider the following, and decide for yourself:
In future, Saturdays and Sundays will count as “plain time” – part of a junior doctor’s normal working week. This is a big U-turn by the BMA, which had consistently refused to countenance any of Saturday being classified that way.
However, trainee medics will receive extra money for working at least seven full weekends a year up to a maximum 10% increase in their pay, depending on how often they do so. Most will receive at least the 3% uplift for doing seven weekends.
Hunt was able to hail the BMA’s change of tack as helping him to bring in the “truly seven-day NHS” that the Conservatives have pledged. The new system makes it a third cheaper for hospitals to roster junior doctors to work at weekends, he says.
The BMA are claiming that a complicated new payments system for overnight working is a big improvement for doctors. Pay is going down from 50% extra for a shift to 37% for working at least eight hours any time between 8pm and 10am. But the union says that it will also end some anomalies that meant some doctors working very late at night did not get a premium rate in return.
The 55,000 junior doctors in the NHS in England will now get an increase in their basic pay of 10%-11% and not the 13.5% the health secretary previously promised, because other changes to their payments make it harder to keep the package cost-neutral – another Hunt pledge.
Also, most juniors will also get a separate 8% uplift to their pay so long as they do on-call work, which almost all do. Pay premia for young doctors opting to specialise in A&E, psychiatry and oral and maxilo-facial medicine have been increased to £20,000. And while doctors doing locum shiftss will have to first offer their services to the NHS, they will get a 22% bonus every time they do.
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