Speaking ahead of a debate in Parliament (on Wednesday 28th October) called by Labour about junior doctor contracts, Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart joined Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Heidi Alexander to back safe and fair contracts for junior doctors. The Government is reforming contracts for junior doctors, removing the safeguards that penalise hospitals who routinely force junior doctors to work more than their contracted hours and cutting pay for doctors that currently work evenings and weekends.
Fiona commented, “I’ve heard from several local doctors and people training to be doctors. They care passionately about the NHS and like me are worried about the consequences of these changes. Tired and overworked doctors aren’t good for patient safety. Britain has excellent medical training, but these contract changes mean many young doctors at the start of their careers face a drop in income or, especially in shortage areas like Accident and Emergency, a big increase in the hours they are expected to work. It is putting people off medicine as a career, and leading young doctors to seek work in other countries so we lose their skills and the benefit of the training which has been supported by our taxes.
“People go into medicine because they want to cure suffering people. These changes for new doctors will mean the UK has less chance of keeping their skills. The last thing we want is for talented young people to feel that they have to leave the country to build a decent career. Our NHS is built on the talent of the people that work within it and I hope the Government listens to them and gets around the negotiating table with the BMA to work out a deal that works for patients and doctors.”