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Specialty and Associate Doctors’ Contract Agreement

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2021

I am pleased to confirm that specialty and associate specialist doctors have backed a multi-year pay and contract reform agreement.

This is a diverse group of doctors who play a vital role in delivering high-quality care within healthcare teams and we recognise the particular issues they have faced. This agreement focuses on fixing long-standing concerns around equality of pay and terms and conditions for this group of staff. The agreement will improve their experiences of work and provide more opportunities to progress in their careers, in return for contractual changes which will deliver improvements to NHS services.

The deal will give around 10,000 doctors the option to transfer to new contracts. The contract changes prioritise doctors’ physical and mental wellbeing through introducing new limits on work in unsocial hours and additional annual leave to improve equity with other staff groups. The new pay scales will have fewer progression points, enabling faster progression to the top of the pay scale, heeding the recommendations from the gender pay gap in medicine review. The introduction of a new senior grade will expand opportunities for career progression for specialty doctors.

Over recent years we have sought major contractual reforms right across the NHS workforce. Public sector pay must deliver value for money for the taxpayer and this agreement commits investment in return for reforms which will help improve recruitment and retention, enhance morale and boost capacity and productivity.

This agreement delivers on the commitment in the NHS People Plan to make these roles more attractive and fulfilling and will help us retain more talent to ensure our NHS is there for everyone in the years to come.