To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his contribution of 28 October 2015, Official Report, column 429, on junior doctors hours, if he will publish the evidential basis for the proposition that hospitals are not rostering enough junior doctors at weekends.
9 November 2015
NHS Employers’ evidence to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration – “Reform of national contracts for consultant doctors and doctors and dentists in training” - published in December 2014, included a profile of how the hours worked by doctors in training were spread across the week.
We have evidence that hospital leaders consider the junior doctors’ contract to be a significant barrier to delivering more seven-day services. NHS Providers’ written evidence to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) on contract reform for consultants and doctors and dentists in training stated that the junior doctor contract is still a significant source of barriers to seven day working and reform of the junior doctor contract is also required to support trusts to deliver more seven-day services. In particular, the pay banding system for junior doctors needs to be reviewed. There were concerns from employers that the banding system is too complicated, can create “perverse incentives” for junior doctors, and means that providing more seven-day services is unaffordable, since more junior doctors would be working outside core hours and receive premiums under the current banding system. NHS Providers also believe that more hours in a day and more days of the week need to be defined as core hours, as the current arrangement does not support the delivery of more seven-day services or reflect the needs and expectations of today’s patients. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh has also said that premium pay rates are hindering efforts to put services on a seven-day footing.