The controversy surrounding the new junior doctors contract

Junior doctors in England strike following outcry at the newly released junior doctor contract

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued a warning to health authorities following the release of the controversial new contract for junior doctors, which contains some rules that could apparently result in discrimination against women and single parents.

The new contract for junior doctors working in England was published on March 31 and has since been severely criticised for containing points which could indirectly discriminate against women working part-time; single parents; and women taking maternity leave.

A Government analysis of the contract claims that some of the new points may place women and single parents at a disadvantage and may also result in “adverse impacts regarding maternity [leave]”.

Junior doctors strike following anger at new contract

Junior doctors strike following anger at new contract

However, the analysis goes on to add that there are both advantages and disadvantages for these groups and that the government does “not consider that this would amount to indirect discrimination as the impacts can be comfortably justified.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has come under fire for the contract and two groups of junior doctors have already sent him letters before action, threatening court proceedings against the imposition of the new contract.

There have been four days of protests on the streets of London on behalf of junior doctors, supported by some British TV personalities, including the cast of Green Wings and actress Vanessa Redgrave. Junior doctors have been striking since negotiations with the government broke down and more strikes are planned for the coming weeks.

The junior doctors’ leader at the British Medical Association, Dr Johann Malawana, said: “Any future action is wholly avoidable, but the government must get back around the negotiating table and end this dispute through talks.”

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