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Ministers are likely to announce tomorrow that they will impose a contract on junior doctors as the BMA rejected the ‘final offer by the Government. The BMA suggested a reduction in basic pay increase by about a half order to keep Saturday rates higher but this was refused even though it was cost neutral.

Chart on unsocial hours

Lowering the cost of weekend rosters for hospitals is the Government’s primary goal in so that the Government can bring in the seven day NHS. What the Government means by the seven day NHS is hard to define. Necessary care is already provided. While there is some evidence that patients admitted at the weekend are more likely to die within 30 days, this is a complex issue which is has never been directly linked to junior doctor staff numbers. Weekend mortality is bound to be greater because only emergency cases are admitted not routine cases. When this is taken to account the ‘weekend effect’ is much diminished and most doctors and experts believe that is is mainly due to a lack of access to investigations such as scans and consultant supervision. Stretching the existing workforce around 7 days may create more gaps during the week days and worsen patient services then.

Find out what life is like being a junior doctor. Are you tough enough?