HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc1101-2W
Mr. Oaten

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost to the NHS is of compliance with new junior doctors' hours regulations. [71563]

Mr. Hutton

[holding answer 19 July 2002]The junior doctors' hours regulations are those incorporated into the new contract for junior doctors which requires Pre-Registration House Officers to be contracted for no more than 56 hours from August 2001, with senior house officers and specialist registrars following suit in August 2003.

The estimated cost of implementing the new contract from January 2001 to December 2003 is in the region of £210 million on a total junior doctors' pay bill of some £1.3 billion per annum. However, detailed information on doctors' pay is not held centrally. The driving principle underlying the new contract was to create financial disincentives through the pay bill if trusts continued to employ doctors in non-compliant posts. The effect of these cost pressures on trusts has been to bring overall non-compliance down from 44 per cent. in March 2001 to 32 per cent. in March 2002, with consequent potential long-term reductions in the junior doctor pay bill.