Yesterday I recorded this weeks politics programme for the BBC and the main topic for debate was the dispute over the contract of employment for junior doctors in the NHS. A dispute which led this week to them going out on strike. The reason why the government want to change the contract is to provide more flexibility in the drawing up of work rotas so that there is more cover at weekends and more services can be provided on week round basis.
In return for this flexibility the basic pay of junior doctors is being increased by 11%. Because basic pay is being increased it also means the amount paid into the doctors pensions is also being increased. The maximum working week is being cut from 91 hours to 72 hours and a new shift pattern of 4 night shifts or 5 long day shifts is proposed instead of the current contract which allows for 7 consecutive night shifts or 12 consecutive long day shifts.