Junior Doctors’ Contracts

Part of Opposition Day — [8th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 5:25 pm on 28th October 2015.

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Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Chair, Health and Social Care Committee 5:25 pm, 28th October 2015

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. There is much to be welcomed in the new contract, but we need honesty about some of this. I am very pleased that the Secretary of State has given an assurance today that no junior doctor will be worse off, but I hope that when he sums up the debate, he will tell us what will happen to a junior doctor working 70 hours a week, perhaps in a specialty such as accident and emergency or anaesthetics. If the pay envelope is the same and some junior doctors will be better off, the maths indicates that some will be worse off and we need to clarify which ones. We need much more clarity, not just about whether an individual will be no worse off as a result of changing from one job to the next over the transition period, but about what will happen to the pay for that post over the coming years.

While I welcome many of the elements of the junior contract, I feel that, because the debate has become rather toxic, we should take the opportunity to begin again to examine all the issues in the round, and ask junior doctors themselves to work with the Secretary of State in establishing how we can achieve our common aims on behalf of patients. We should also take the opportunity once more to welcome junior doctors and value everything that they do.