Junior doctors have marched through London in protest at planned changes to their contracts. It is the latest show of organised anger from the union, which is set to ballot on strike action soon.
The British Medical Association, says the plans will lead to a drop in junior doctors’ salaries, while forcing them to work longer hours. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused the BMA of misleading doctors and says the proposals would reduce their maximum weekly working hours, while not reducing their wages. He sent a letter to junior doctors last week explaining these points in an attempt to defuse the situation.
The BMA’s membership were not as charmed by the letter as the Department of Health had expected and the rally was organised in Westminster as a ‘wake-up call for ministers’. Rallies were also held in Belfast and Nottingham.
Critics say the new contract involves pay cuts of up to 30%, and will include extending working hours to 07:00 to 22:00 every day except Sunday. However, Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the proposals would benefit doctors by reducing working hours.