On Sunday 18th October 2015 more than 1,000 junior doctors showed out in force to march against proposed changes to NHS contracts in England. Two of RM Medics own consultants took the time out to join these doctors in support of rejecting the changes which could see pay cuts of up to 30% approximately. Not only this, but many the junior doctors we spoke to put a fear of patient safety as the biggest threat posed by new contracts.
That point aside, junior doctors would see shift patterns that potentially leave them exhausted and contemplating other working options. We spoke to a few who had analysed the option of continuing their careers abroad as a more viable option. While they may be able to attain equal pay, it could mean working dangerous hours.
The only reported responses by the governments is that the current contracts are “outdated”. Jeremy Hunt, a noticeably unpopular figure at the event, only agreed to meet for talks after the strike action card was played. The BMA is currently in the process of asking its members their feelings about strikes. The DOH believe the new contracts provide higher basic pay rates, increased basic salary, a proportionate payment for additional hours worked (including on call), unsocial hours pay, flexible pay premium for hard to fill specialities and most importantly quality and quantity of training opportunities for the junior Doctors effected.
While it may be the case that the 1990’s original contracts may be outdated, this is by no mean cause to victimise the junior doctors in the UK that have already invested large parts of their lives to benefit others through our National Health Service.
Also noticeable was the amount of placards poking fun at David Cameron’s recent scandal involving a certain farm yard animal. Add to this the fact that many of the march’s participants stayed behind afterwards to clear up shows how much these junior doctors care about the NHS, the country and their careers.