Junior doctors are in the midst of strike action to unprecedented levels for NHS workers, but what the hell is this all about?
The Health secretary Jeremy Cun- (sorry, it’s a reflex), Jeremy Hunt wants to redraft junior doctor’s contracts.
Currently, ‘sociable’ working hours for junior doctors is 7AM to 7PM, meaning hours worked within this time period are ‘standard rate pay’, and any hours worked outside of this time period are paid at a higher rate. The new contract would increase this to 7AM to 10PM, driving an already stretched and slave like working day even further.
“I don’t particularly want to live in a society where a Tuesday morning is counted the same as a Saturday night,” explained Dr Stephen Wythe, a junior doctor in the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal London Hospital, “I think family life is really important and I think home life is really important.”
The new contract also removes current safeguards monitoring the overworking of junior doctors, meaning staff will have to solely rely on their employers following guidelines, AND putting patients in danger from doctors who are exhausted.
Are junior doctors getting a pay increase to soften the blow of these changes? Fat chance. The expansion of sociable hours into what is currently over time means many will actually be worse off.
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