Analysis

Nurses face the fallout as junior doctors vote on unsocial hours pay

This week junior doctors in England are voting on whether to take industrial action over a planned contract that reduces their pay for working unsocial hours. Ballot papers sent by the British Medical Association proposing the first strike action for doctors since 2012 had to be returned by November 18.

Among the proposals doctors find unacceptable are making evenings during the week and Saturdays from 7am to 7pm ‘normal working hours’, a reduction in breaks and the removal of annual pay progression. Last week, the government confirmed it was pushing ahead with plans to impose the contract from August 2016.

While more than 30,000 doctors have been deciding which boxes to mark on their ballot paper, nurses are also wondering what impact the row could have on them.

In the short term, nurses might have to cope with the effects of widespread industrial action by junior doctors. In the longer term, unions fear the changes could signal a wider government intent to reduce the number of paid-for unsocial hours to other NHS staff. Working these hours is standard practice for many nurses as they seek to boost their income in light of increased pension costs and being subject

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