Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Jeremy Hunt admits junior doctors who work the longest hours will actually have their pay cut

The Health Secretary had accused the British Medical Association of scaremongering

Jon Stone
Thursday 29 October 2015 11:06 GMT
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Getty Images)

Some junior doctors who work the longest hours will in fact have their pay cut under a proposed new NHS contract, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Jeremy Hunt yesterday said that “not a single junior doctor will get a pay cut compared to their current contract” in an effort to calm medics who fears cuts to anti-social hours payments.

But Mr Hunt this morning confirmed that a “small minority” of the medics who worked over 56 hours would see their pay reduced for safety reasons.

“There’s a very small minority of doctors who will be working more than an average of 56 hours and at the moment they get paid what’s called colloquially in the NHS ‘danger money’,” he told BBC’s Breakfast programme.

“We think that’s wrong. Actually, we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen; it’s not safe for patients and, frankly, I’m not sure it’s safe for doctors either. But what we are saying is that for the vast majority of doctors who are working within the legal limit there will be no pay cut.”

After months of building pressure and anger, Mr Hunt said on Wednesday that the Government would commit to making sure that junior doctors would be worse off under the new contracts.

He had had accused the British Medical Association of scaremongering over claims the contracts could see pay cuts.

“Today I can confirm that not a single junior doctor working within the legal limits for hours will have their pay cut because this is about patient care and not saving money,” he told MPs.

“This is something, incidentally, that I made clear was a possible outcome of negotiations to the BMA at the beginning of September in an attempt to encourage them to return to the negotiating table.

“But rather than coming and negotiating they chose to wind up their own members and create a huge amount of unnecessary anger.”

Mr Hunt made the comments during an opposition day debate called by the Labour Party in the House of Commons.

He has previously said junior doctors were “misled” by the BMA.

On Saturday 17 October medics filled central London streets in protest at the plans, with an estimated 20,000 showing up. Others gathered in Nottingham and Belfast.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in