VIDEO: Doctors 'disgusted' with new discriminatory contract
Junior doctors strike again today against contract changes, which have now been deemed discriminatory to women at a time when most doctors are female.
And as they walked out for the latest 48-hour strike action - the fourth strike this year - attention turns to how sexually discriminatory the new contract is towards women, as the presidents of both the Royal college of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons, Prof Jane Dacre and Clare Marx, have come out against the new contract stating it will force female doctors to quit.
In a joint statement, they said: “We are very concerned by the language in the government’s own equality analysis of the contract, which warns that features of the new contract ‘impact disproportionately on women’. Recent commitments from government to support women in business are greatly welcome. We view the wording of the equality analysis as incompatible with this approach.”
New Department of Health analysis admitted: “there are features of the new contract that impact disproportionately on women of which some we expect to be advantageous and others disadvantageous," but went on to excuse the unfair impact: "we do not consider that this would amount to indirect discrimination as the impacts can be comfortably justified”.
Doctors at Kings Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire said they were appalled by the goverment's silence on the issue, now treating the new contract as set-in-stone.
Dr Mirriam Renshall, 24, a year-two foundation trainee, said it's taking us 'back in time' in a generation where the majority of doctors are no longer male, but female.
She added: "If they're planning on rostering more during the weekend that means less during the week.
"It's going to have an impact on the service throughout the entire week. Its come out in the ethical committee looking at the impact - it says categorically that it will be unfair for women. It's quite shocking, it's one of my big worries. Now the government themselves have stated that it's unequal, and they've said its a proportionate .
The majority of doctors now are female: "If you work less than full time or take time off for maternity leave there are changes to the pay progression.
"And anyone who is a single parent, which is more women than men, the number of anti-social hours you'll be expected to work will increase, and childcare will increase.
"I just think it seems to take a step back in terms of equality - it's quite scary that it would no longer be as financially viable to be a parent."
Miriam already sees rota gaps a the hospital - she tells us that last week there was no junior doctor coverall all the floors in the Kings Mill at night, and the co-coordinators simply had to allow that because they couldn't find the shift workers.
"Who loses out there? The patients do, and whoever is unlucky enough to be working that day will have to do the extra work, however unsafe that is and if something goes wrong then their in the firing line."
Kings Mill has already been called out on its unsafe management, which has led to an unacceptable mortality rate at the hospital
"Despite all the public support for this, the government have absolutely silenced the issue and I find that so distressing that they can ignore so much of the public who clearly support the doctors."
Dr Doherty, a trainee at Kings Mill, added: "(The government) have themselves declare that it impacts unfairly on women but that impact is proportionate to the level of staffing that they need to do. What this really translates as is in 2016, is its OK for my colleague if she's female to be paid less than me as a man.
"If my wife-to-be takes time out to have our family, she will be paid less when she returns, if she takes time out to do research she will be paid less, so this new contract distinguishes between men and women on the basis of gender and I think that enough attention has not been paid to that by the media generally."
"We should be furious about this, its absolutely disgusting."