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Thursday, December 31, 1998 Published at 03:50 GMT


Junior doctors get militant for the millennium

Junior doctors are planning a big push for more overtime pay

Junior doctors have launched an overtime pay campaign for New Year's Eve 1999.

They expect wild end-of-the-millennium celebrations to mean even more work for them, coupled with possible breakdowns in equipment due to the millennium bug and continuing staff shortages.

Junior doctors are paid just £3.71 an hour for being on call - half of their normal pay.

Now the British Medical Association's Junior Doctors Committee (JDC) has voted unanimously to negotiate "appropriate rates of pay and time off in lieu for those junior doctors required to work over the 1999/2000 New Year holiday period".

Dr Steve Hajioff, a public health doctor, said New Year's Eve next year is likely to bring much more work for junior doctors.

"I think it is quite likely leave is going to be cancelled by a large number of NHS employers - if it hasn't been already."

Fiona Kew, deputy chairman of the JDC, said: "I think we should be asking for premium rates for hours on this night."

[ image: Doctors anticipate New Year's Eve misery next year]
Doctors anticipate New Year's Eve misery next year
Chairman Andrew Hobart added: "We recognise the strength of feeling on this issue and will be pressing our views on the government."

Earlier in the year former health minister Alan Milburn pledged to improve junior doctors' working conditions and to work to reduce their hours.

However, he dodged a question on overtime pay, saying this was for doctors' independent review body to decide.

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