'Almost half' of junior doctors 'will quit the NHS' if contract is imposed

Almost half of junior doctors plan to quit the NHS if health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s threatened contract imposition goes ahead, a survey has found.

The survey, launched by a GP trainee and attracting thousands of responses, was designed to gauge the opinions from doctors and medical students about the junior doctor contract row.

The GPC also reacted to findings, branding them ‘very worrying’ and with ’potentially serious ramifications’.

Out of 4,500 replies via kwiksurveys.com in April, 46% of eligible respondents said they would leave the NHS this summer if the contract goes ahead, with 28% saying they would work abroad in countries like Australia and New Zealand; 15% pledging to leave medicine and change career and 3% vowing to leave to work in private healthcare.

Another 46% said they would stay on, whilst the remainder are due to complete training this summer so the contract will not affect them.

Some of the main reasons respondents gave for being against the new contract included it being discriminatory against women (91%); affecting patient safety (89%); pushing doctors to leave the profession/country, leading to a reduced workforce (88%) and the contract not being safe for doctors (87%).

In another finding, less than half (48%) of eligible junior doctors have applied for specialist core training (CT) or specialist registrar (SPR) training this August with 20% specifically citing the proposed new contract as their reason for not applying. Some 10% are planning to move abroad, 21% plan to take a year out of training and 2% say they are leaving medicine altogether.

The survey also found that 99.5% of junior doctors, consultants, GPs and medical students do not agree with the current imposition of the new contract while a staggering 96% think that Mr Hunt should resign.

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