Headlines: November 2nd, 2001

Junior doctors who work part time face an uncertain future following the Government’s decision not to fund flexible training posts. An increasing number of hospital trusts are refusing to employ flexible trainees or renew existing contracts because of the lack of central funding for such posts. It has also been suggested that their contracts should be renegotiated, effectively to deliver a pay cut for flexible trainees. The decision has angered the BMA’s junior doctors committee which has been pressing for central funding to alleviate the crisis.Most doctors who seek flexible training posts do so because they have young children and wish to look after their families. Flexible trainees typically work around 40 hours a week. In a recent BMA study, 37.9% of a sample of junior doctors thought that they may wish to train flexibly in the future. Last year, 58% of entrants to medical school were women.

It is estimated that hundreds of junior doctors are being prevented from continuing with their training and will consequently face delays before qualifying as a GP or consultant or they may be forced to leave medicine altogether.