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Change to the Junior Doctor Contract

  • October 24, 2019

In June 2019, junior doctors accepted a new contract which provided them with an improved contract to make their work fairer and more supporting of their physical and mental wellbeing.

Under the deal, junior doctors will receive:

1. A pay rise averaging 2% for each of the next four years, starting in 2020

There is a total pay rise of over 8.2% over the course of four years.

2. New limits on the weekend work they will do

This has been changed from one in two weekends, to one in three weekends. The change means that junior doctors are not legally allowed to work more than one in three weekends.

3. New limit on the number of shifts

They can now only work a maximum of seven days in a row, changed from the previous eight consecutive days.

4. Change to the number of breaks in a shift

Junior doctors were previously allowed two breaks of 30 minutes each in a 12-hour shift. This has now been changed to three breaks of 30 minutes each in a 12-hour shift.

5. Increase in rest time between night shifts

A junior doctor will now get a minimum of 46 hours break after a night shift, even if it was just one single night.

6. New limits on the number of long shifts

A junior doctor will now be limited to working up to 13 hours in one shift.

When will the changes be introduced?

These changes came into effect from 7th August 2019.

However, there will be staggered implementation for all NHS Trusts due to contractual terms. So, all NHS Trusts have until 5th August 2020 to make sure these changes are enforced.

When will the annual 2% pay rise? Will it be backdated?

The annual pay uplift will be introduced in September 2019 and backdated to 1st April 2019 for the 2019/2020 period.

Relocation to the UK

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References (2019). BMA - Agreed new contract deal for junior doctors FAQs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Lintern, S. (2019). Junior doctors secure changes to disputed contract. [online] Health Service Journal. Available at: [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].


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