Junior doctors in Nottingham are to have controversial contract changes imposed on them by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt after negotiations broke down again.
Trainee medics returned to work today (Thursday) after walking out on strike for the second time since the start of the year.
The British Medical Association rejected a final “take-it-or-leave-it” offer, which included a concession on Saturday pay, from Government ministers.
Medical graduate Jack Culling, 22, who is set to start as a junior doctor at the QMC later this year, believes the new contracts are unfair and will put future doctors off the profession.
He said: “I have friends employed as junior doctors who work tirelessly all week and they aren’t really paid that much.
“The way they have been treated throughout negotiations seems incredibly cruel, and doesn’t exactly motivate someone going in to the role.
“We need to be encouraging people to enter the industry but these new contracts, as well as various cuts putting more and more financial pressure on medical students, do exactly the opposite.”
Hospital staff, union members and students lined the streets outside the QMC to protest over the contact changes which they say would endanger patients as doctors would be forced to work extra hours and risk burning out.
New contact set to be imposed on August 1
Jeremy Hunt says doctors working one in four or more Saturdays will receive a pay premium of 30 per cent
The BMA says contract represents a drop in pay and will result in tired doctors which could endanger patients
Government officials said they would be giving doctors a pay rise and that the contracts would benefit patients as they look to create a seven-day NHS.
Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “Jeremy Hunt has rejected a fair and affordable proposal put forward by the BMA and is instead ploughing ahead with proposals that could see many junior doctors voting with their feet.
“Junior doctors already work around the clock, seven days a week and they do so under their existing contract.
“If the Government want more seven-day services then, quite simply, they need more doctors, nurses and diagnostic staff, and the extra investment needed to deliver it.”
Yesterday’s strike affected around 400 patients throughout Nottinghamshire with 27 operations and 262 outpatient appointments cancelled at the QMC alone.
King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield community hospitals cancelled a further 100 appointments between them.
All of those patients were contacted in advance and all cancellations have now been rearranged, the hospitals say.
The new contracts will come in to force at the beginning of August with a majority of the 55,000-strong workforce expected to be on them within a year.