Reading the details of the Equality Analysis for the new junior doctor’s contract published on Friday 1st April brought great dismay and frustration to the BOTA Committee. It outlines how women, carers, and single parents will be disadvantaged by the new contract. BOTA is committed to fighting for equality in the workplace and as such we would unilaterally reject any such discrimination.
The equality analysis states that ‘Any indirect adverse effect on women is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’1 This language is deeply regrettable and suggests a backwards step in gender equality from the government. We, as a traditionally male dominated speciality, are working hard to increase the attractiveness of our speciality for women and this contract can only be seen as detrimental to our aims.
Currently pay is linked to numbers of years in service so that less than full time trainees and those taking parental leave are not disadvantaged. The new pay structure would financially penalise those working less than full time or taking time out as they would take longer to reach the next pay point.
The contract also seeks to control the work we do outside of our scheduled hours stating that ‘where a Doctor wishes to undertake locum work in addition to the duties in their work schedule/contract of employment, the NHS employer has first refusal on that time and can secure it at contract rates.’1
The latest contract details and accompanying equality assessment only consolidates our feeling that this contract will be deleterious for medical recruitment and retention. Furthermore, it will likely erode morale within the workforce, particularly for our female members.
BOTA continues to urge the government to rethink the damaging way in which it is handling imposition of a junior doctor contract and to re-enter negotiations with the BMA to work towards a workable contract that will allow best patient safety and training but never at the expense of our female or single parent colleagues. Any junior doctor contract must ensure that female doctors’ chosen career path offers equal opportunities in training and professional development.
Miss Helen Vint
BOTA Women in Surgery Rep
Mr. Mustafa S. Rashid