PROTEST: Junior Doctors took to the streets of Leeds last month
PROTEST: Junior Doctors took to the streets of Leeds last month

Following a host of highly-publicised protests across the country last month, Britain’s Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has proposed a nationwide payrise for junior doctors – an offer shunned by most medics.

Medical professionals took to the streets in October against proposed changes to contracts of junior doctors, as the NHS continues to work towards becoming a 24-hour service, seven-days-a- week.

Such a move is likely to mean that Saturdays will become included in a normal working week affecting current rates of pay.

The new contract, which the government plans to impose next summer, is also widely regarded to pose a high risk to patient safety and to the sustainability of the NHS, with wide ranging implications for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Medics argue that it would effectively mean a pay cut of up to 30 per cent for many, as under current regulations, evenings and Saturdays are paid at a higher rate.

Mr Hunt had written to all junior doctors in England with his proposed contract offer that would mean a basic payrise for 75 per cent of medics. He also said higher pay would start from 7pm rather than 10pm.

However, the offer has still been slammed by many recipients, who argue they will be worse off once the changes are implemented.

With talks of industrial action taking place for only the second time in just under 45 years, Johann Malawana, chairman of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, said negotiations must open soon with Mr Hunt.

He told Sky News: “We want to see proposals that have meaningful safeguards that prevent doctors actually working excessive hours.

“In the proposals we have seen so far, the very safeguards that have driven down hours and keep hours lower within the NHS are actually the safeguards that Jeremy Hunt is now saying he wants to stop and what he is offering instead are not meaningful safeguards on those doctors’ hours.

“These are a matter of details but these are matters of detail that should be dealt with in a meaningful negotiation. They should not be just headline-grabbing PR stories.”