§ Mr. Cyril Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what evidence he has received that area health authorities are cutting back on the employment of locums to cover for junior hospital doctors absent on holiday since the introduction of the new contracts;
(2) what steps his Department proposes to take to prevent the situation whereby junior doctors under the terms of the new contract, may be required to work extra duties to cover for colleagues on holiday without receiving any extra pay.
§ Mr. Ennals
The recent agreement of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Hospital Medical and Dental Staff provides that junior doctors should be paid at the level of their normal salaries as defined by the normal duty roster—including A and B as well as standard units of medical time—when they themselves are on annual or study leave in return for covering for colleagues on such leave for no additional remuneration. The agreement limits the commitment to extra duties for this purpose to what is reasonable in the circumstances and provides that employment authorities should not include in a contract a requirement to cover for colleagues absent on such leave if it would have been their normal practice to employ a locum for such cover before the introduction of the new contracts. I have received no evidence to suggest that authorities are cutting back on the employment of locums for these purposes.