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Junior Doctors

Volume 80: debated on Friday 14 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the Trent regional health authority has dropped the allowance for continuity of care in a junior doctor's contract.

The assessment of a junior doctor's contractual commitments is a matter for local judgment by the employing authority in the light of the requirements of each post including, where appropriate, such commitments outside normally rostered duties as are necessary for the continuity of patient care. If the hon. Member has a particular problem in mind, he may wish to write to the chairman of Trent regional health authority.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list the regional health authorities who are paying their junior doctors for an 84 hour week except when covering for a colleague who is on holiday, irrespective of the number of hours worked in excess of that time;(2) if his Department's circular (PM(85)1) regarding pay and conditions of service of junior hospital medical and dental staff; hours of work, is being used by some regional health authorities to reduce the remuneration of junior house officers by not paying them for time worked in excess of 84 hours per week.

A junior doctor cannot be obliged to undertake unpaid duty in excess of his contractual commitment other than, exceptionally, in occasional emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. Where he agrees to undertake duty in excess of this commitment, he is entitled to receive additional pay or, in the limited circumstances envisaged in PM(85)1, time off in lieu. I have no evidence that these arrangements are not being followed, but I should be happy to consider any that the hon. Member can provide.

Claimant groupPresent level of disregardDate increased to present levelLevel needed if increased in line with inflation since last increase*
Unemployed£4November 1980£5.46
£4 plus half of earnings£5·46
Single Parentsbetween £4 and £20November 1980£27·28
Others£4November 1975£10·37
*Based on increase in Retail Price Index between date of last increase and April 1985 (latest date for which information is available).

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards junior house officers in future working more than 84 hours a week except when covering for a colleague who is on holiday

I refer the hon Member to my reply on 23 May to the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Mr Hoyle) at columns 538–9