Government made concessions on weekend working for junior doctors, leaked letter shows

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 22 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i454
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. 1BMJ Careers

The UK government has offered concessions on weekend pay for junior doctors, as part of negotiations on proposed changes to the contract for doctors in training, HSJ (Health Service Journal) has reported.

The concessions were outlined in a leaked letter sent by the government’s lead negotiator, David Dalton, to Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, HSJ reports.1

Negotiations between the government and the BMA, facilitated by Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), were continuing on Friday 22 January. The BMA announced on Tuesday 19 January that it had suspended the planned 48 hour period of industrial action by junior doctors starting on Tuesday 26 January.2

HSJ said that the letter from Dalton set out new proposals for weekend working, including:

  • Any trainee who worked one in three Saturdays or more would be paid an enhanced rate for all the Saturdays they work. This could be equal to proposed unsocial hours rates for nights (50% more) or Sundays (33% more)

  • Junior doctors would not be expected to work consecutive Saturdays

  • Unsocial hours rates would begin on Saturdays at 5 pm rather than 7 pm

  • Unsocial hours rates for all junior doctors would start at 9 pm Monday to Friday instead of the original proposal of 10 pm, and

  • Trainees would be able to ask for a rapid review of their schedules if they were concerned that their training time was being affected by working at weekends.

Commenting on the leaked letter, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said, “We’re hugely disappointed that someone has chosen to disclose this confidential letter during these sensitive negotiations. We continue to have detailed and constructive discussions with the BMA.”

In a joint response, released by Acas, the BMA and NHS Employers said that contract negotiations were continuing. “Differences remain on some key areas, but we are committed to addressing these privately in talks through Acas,” the response said.


Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i454



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