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Medicopolitical Digest

Working lives of doctors must be improvedPublic health must not be sidelinedNI GPs must have primary role in decision makingBMA amends guidance on abortion

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 02 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:925

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Working lives of doctors must be improved

There is a need to improve working lives in the NHS, including the working lives of doctors, the health departments state in their evidence to the review body for the 2000 pay review.

They say that they share the concerns of junior doctors and consultants about the nature of their current contract. “These contracts do not adequately or sensitively reflect workload or intensity of work. Nor do they allow rewards to match the contribution doctors make to the NHS The key focus of action on doctors' pay in the coming year is to modernise both contracts.” The key principles for modernising the junior doctors' contract are a modern, simple to operate pay structure; fair pay; recognition of the particular problems of junior doctors' working patterns; and recognition that non-pay elements play an important part in juniors' working lives (see p 869).

The departments emphasise that a balance has to be struck between the overall pay settlement and the need to ensure that the NHS has sufficient resources to enable doctors to deliver high quality services and to meet the departments' targets. They say that targets …

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