More than 1000 junior doctor parents have spoken up voicing grave concerns about the new contract, set to be imposed this August. In an online survey conducted in April 2016, 99.4% consider the contract will have a detrimental effect on their family life and less than 5% of respondents plan to continue their career as it currently is. 93% consider the proposed contract will have a detrimental effect on their relationship with spouse or partner. More than 25% are considering leaving the profession altogether, with a further 26% considering a move to another country.
“There are around 54,000 junior doctors. A junior doctor is anyone graduated from medical school up to consultant or GP level. Most are of child rearing ages and many have children. When doctor recruitment is already in crisis and only 5% of junior doctor parents plan to continue as is, imposition of this contract could throw the entire doctor workforce into disarray,” states survey creator, Dr Sethina Watson, junior doctor and mother of four. “This contract threatens both lives of medic children and, with a potentially reduced workforce, the lives of patients too.”
The survey asked a range of questions on current level of training, current and potential childcare and whether or not they envisaged continuing their current career should the contract be imposed. The survey identifies extreme difficulties in finding childcare, 93% state that finding childcare with the new contract will be more difficult. The governments equality analysis of the Junior Doctor contract openly states that it disadvantages women but that this ‘indirect adverse effect on women is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’. The equality analysis suggests that some women may find it easier to arrange informal, unpaid childcare in the evenings and weekends. The survey results showed that nearly 60% of respondents do not have access to such childcare. Of those who do, 86% believe it will be unreliable for ensuring attendance at work. There may be a surge in doctors requesting part-time working, which can still entail up to 55 hours per week.
Of particular concern are the doctor and doctor couples that comprise nearly 40% of those who responded. “I cannot imagine how it would be tolerable if the frequency of our weekend working were to increase; I could easily imagine this causing marital and family breakdown,” said one married male doctor.
Jeremy Hunt’s rush to impose the contract threatens to create a potential time bomb that could explode as early as August as thousands of junior doctor parents struggle to find childcare or quit their jobs. The legacy could harm generations of children and lead to a loss of thousands of years of medical training from the workforce.
Survey Results Summary:
- 1060 Respondents
- 84% aged 30-44
- 82% female
- 84% married/civil partnership
- 38% have doctor partner/spouse
- 38% full time employment, 41% less-than-full-time
- 39% caring for one, 39% caring for two
- 59% use nursery and 58% spouse for additional childcare
- 34% ST 5+
- Of those choosing to stay in medicine 58% will stay in speciality
- 40% spend between 20-39% of net household income on childcare
- 58% do not have access to unpaid informal childcare, those who do 86% say not robust or reliable enough for work
- If contract comes in 48% plan to use partner for childcare, 48% don’t know what they will do (you could have more than one answer for combination arrangements)
- 75% expect to pay for this additional childcare
- 93% said that finding more childcare would be more difficult
- 4.6% will continue their career as it currently is
- Those considering other options 87% cite impact on children, 79% impact on spouse, 53% cannot afford further childcare, 77% emotional strain and stress as key factors
- 74% state the proposed contract will definitely have a detrimental impact on their relationship with spouse/partner (19% state probably)
- 93% state it will definitely have a detrimental effect on family life and 6% say it probably will
Complete survey findings are available JDCchildcaresurvey2016.
For a short link to this survey use http://wp.me/p3pm8R-bk
For more information on the survey and permission to use findings, please contact me below