Further to our previous alerter last month The British Medical Association Junior Doctors Committee (JDC), NHS Employers and the Secretary of State for Health have reached an agreement on the new terms and conditions for doctors in training. Whilst the new contract is due to be published at the end of the month, there has been no indication that the timetable for implementation has been put back, despite the BMA putting this to a referendum of its junior doctor members next month. The new contract will be a combination of agreed terms from the February round of negotiations (including an agreement to replace the banding system for rewarding unsocial hours; a series of new limits on working hours; and the replacement of an incremental pay system), along with the new provisions agreed last week. ACAS has released a statement setting out the agreement in principle.
This alerter concentrates on some of the key new agreed terms and what your organisation will need to do to get ready for implementation.
What this means for employers
The draft national contract and guidance to it is being prepared. However, as we set out in our April alerter, there is much to do and little time to do it. Key implementation issues include:
- Quickly engage with the BMA and LNC now there is an agreement the BMA is prepared to discuss;
- Review the make up of your implementation working party (if you have one) to potentially include junior doctors/BMA representatives;
- Continue to work on the generic and personalised work schedules. These still seem to be "part of the deal";
- Appoint a Guardian of Safe Working (the Guardian) if you have not already done so;
- Ensure whatever e-rostering system is being built/used has the various safeguards (such as 46 hour rest break after completion of 3 or 4 night shifts) included;
- What should be the form and content of the Guardian's board reports? This could be an issue for the implementation working party with the Guardian;
- What is your organisation's approach to appropriately compensating junior doctors for working overtime? Whilst the contract will deal with this there seems to be options to deal with this through a payment or time off in lieu;
- How will your organisation ensure it practically gains the maximum benefit from junior doctors having to exclusively offer locum work through an NHS staff bank?
- What systems should be put in place to ensure that implementation at a local level addresses gender equality issues? Clearly final plans cannot be made until you know the trainee cohort your organisation will receive. However, given the BMA has written to all Trusts and FTs on this issue it is likely to scrutinise this subject further. Of course this will need to be informed by the joint NHS Employers/BMA guidance to be produced on this topic;
- Stress test your pay systems to ensure all pay information is accurately inputted and processed.