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Poll overwhelmingly backs juniors’ concerns over contract proposals

95% of respondents to OnMedica poll agree that plans are unfair and unsafe

Caroline White

Thursday, 08 October 2015

Trainees overwhelmingly back junior doctors’ concerns over the proposed changes the government wants to make to their contract from next August, the results of an OnMedica poll show.

In all, 3,367 GP and specialist trainees were contacted, and 128 replied, giving a response rate of 4%—within the space of 5 hours—one of the fastest responses to an OnMedica poll ever recorded.

Asked whether they would be prepared to down their stethoscopes in protest at the planned changes to their terms and conditions, an overwhelming 95% said that they would.

Yesterday’s poll was prompted by a request from The Times, which carries an item on the results in its pages today, following a news story OnMedica published on the long running saga at the end of last month.

The contractual changes would see standard working hours redefined, with a subsequent cut in take-home pay of up to 40%, prompting concerns that the changes are not only unfair but would also threaten patient safety.

A poll earlier in the week of OnMedica readers, which asked whether the proposed new contract was fair and safe, drew a resounding no from most (95%) respondents.

The BMA has refused to get back round the negotiating table after the government insisted that it would impose the new terms and conditions, and is balloting its members on industrial action.

A petition started by Dr Matthew Egan at the end of September, which calls on the BMA to support a strike, has already attracted almost 90,000 signatures.

Commenting on the poll results, Sarah Eglington, director of healthcare intelligence at Binley’s, which carried out the survey, via OnMedica, said: “We recently asked our OnMedica GP members if they thought that the proposed junior doctors’ contract was fair and safe, and their response echoed the sentiments of the junior doctors surveyed.”

She added: “Doctors don’t decide to strike lightly, it goes against their ethical code, so the overwhelming willingness to vote in favour of a strike illustrates just how dissatisfied doctors are with these proposals.”

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