Staff work in a busy NHS surgery / Alamy


Junior doctors are calling for "cruel and unfair" rules hindering them taking leave to be ended. The medics, who are entitled to five to six weeks of annual holiday, say the way NHS trusts operate mean they are unable to take a day off for a personal occasion outside a fixed leave period, selected by hospital bosses.

"No other NHS staff have their annual leave dictated by their employers," said Dr Kitty Mohan, co-chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee. "It's cruel and unfair, especially so given that junior doctors are still working in excess of 90-hour weeks, seven-day shifts, and deal with excessive and intense workloads."

One doctor, who was forced to miss her mother's 60th birthday party and fears missing her sister's wedding, said she loves being a doctor, but "doctors will not stay in the NHS if things don't change".

Tom Berry, deputy chair of the BMA Scottish Junior Doctors Committee, recalls a young doctor who was unable to get the day off before her wedding for a dress fitting. "She was in the relatives' room in the hospital, with her pager going off, crying, in a wedding dress. It was cruel."