Update: MWF Respond to Letter From Department of Health

21 October 2015
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In September, MWF wrote to Jeremy Hunt with regards to the proposed changes to Junior Doctor contracts (this can be read here) and yesterday we received a response from the Department of Health (here). In light of this disappointing response, MWF have written again to Jeremy Hunt asking him to address the concerns about the impact on women.


Jeremy Hunt MP
Health Secretary
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1A 2NS
21st October 2015
Letter via email

Dear Mr Hunt,

RE: Proposed Junior Doctor Contract

Thank you for the reply to our letter of the 21st of September 2015. The members of the MWF were disappointed and annoyed that the general response provided by your department did not deal with the specific concerns that were raised in our original letter about the DDRB recommendations for a new junior doctor contract.

1. The proposed contract will not protect patients or doctors, which it does through the current system, penalising employers who overwork trainees. The basic pay extension from 7am-10pm and reduced breaks is unjust and is not comparable to other professions. It does not take into account the importance of work-life balance and the need for family time.

2. The recommendations around incremental pay progression depending upon satisfactory skills level progression would mean that doctors in less than full-time training might be on the same pay grade for several years despite gaining competency, further widening the gender pay gap recognised in Medicine. These doctors, the majority of whom are women, are an essential part of the care provided in the NHS and should not be indirectly discriminated against.

3. The DDRB recommend that trainees’ pay should no longer be protected if they take maternity leave, undertake a period of time out in academic research, need to take time out for ill health or disability, or to re-train in a new specialty.

This would have considerable impact on women doctors who would be concerned about planning a family. This may discourage women from continuing in Medicine as a career leading to further staff shortages affecting patient care and recruitment and retention issues across the NHS.

We look forward to receiving a response to the specific concerns raised about the unfairness of the proposed contract and its discriminatory effect on women doctors.

Yours sincerely


Sally Signature

Dr Sally J Davies
President of the Medical Women’s Federation

Medical Women's Federation
Tavistock House North,
Tavistock Square, London,
Tel: 020 7387 7765

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