MWF Response to Equality Impact Assessment
MWF are disappointed and dismayed by the Equality Analysis undertaken by the Department of Health on the proposed junior doctor contract, released yesterday. This contract is to be imposed upon doctors in training in England from August 2016.
The analysis acknowledges that changes in the contract will disadvantage women particularly those training part time, carers and lone parents. However it states, "any indirect adverse effect which may occur is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".
MWF are concerned about suggestions in the analysis that women doctors who are mothers need to seek informal childcare for the increased number of evenings and Saturdays worked. This particularly affects many doctors, predominantly women, without local family and support. Junior doctors are entitled under the Human Rights Act to a family life and under their educational contract to specialty training enabling career progression and adequate preparation for professional examinations.
The spreading of a limited number of junior doctors more thinly across seven days is not going to achieve safer care or improved training of our future specialists. It is more likely to result in women doctors stepping into specialties with less acute commitment, moving out of training or leaving medicine.
You can read the equality analysis and the family test of the new contract here.