Junior doctors on the frontline of this week’s NHS strikes have told MM that women and single parents will be badly affected by the controversial new contracts.
Last week the Department of Health’s equality impact assessment was published in full and fuelled more outrage as it reported ‘some features of the contract impacts disproportionally on women’.
Mary Gee, a 27-year-old NHS junior doctor from Manchester told MM that the contract, scheduled to come into place in August, is ‘incredibly unsafe to patients and unfair to doctors’ because of the extra hours they will be expected to work over the longer weeks.
At the picket line near Manchester Royal Infirmary, she said: “We’ve got children of doctors here today who are protesting with us because they realise that it’s going to be very very hard to find childcare under the new contract and their parents will be negatively affected by it.
“Quite rapidly we could end up working incredibly long working weeks which is really unsafe for patients and I don’t want to be a doctor working in a department where I’m really fatigued and tired and I make a mistake.
“This contract will mean that we lose any safe guards of regulation over how many hours we’re working.
“Once the Government do this to our contracts they’ll do it to everybody’s and it makes it less attractive to work in the NHS. It’s not just about us it’s actually about a wider fight for the NHS.
“Please put pressure on your local government and MPs to get back around the negotiating table with junior doctors because I think that’s really the only way that we can solve this problem.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who orchestrated the new contract and is facing legal action after junior doctors raised £57,000 to challenge him, said that the ‘matter is closed’ yesterday.
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