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Thousands of junior doctors logging unpaid hours amid contract row

Thousands of junior doctors who oppose the Government's plans to impose a new contract have been logging the number of unpaid hours they work.

The website was set up on Friday afternoon and has already logged more than 10,000 hours of free work for the NHS.

It was created by Ed Wallitt, an ex-GP trainee who now runs his own medical IT firm, Podmedics.

So far, more than 5,300 doctors have "clocked" their unpaid hours on the site, amounting to savings to the NHS of more than £166,000.

Dr Wallitt, 31, from north-west London, plans to examine data in closer detail to find out which specialities result in the most unpaid hours.

He said: "We want to make it clear to the public and the Government how many unpaid hours junior doctors work.

"There has been a lot from the Government suggesting doctors are lazy in a bid to get the public on board regarding the contract.

"We wanted to show that doctors are not lazy and that they work many extra hours for the NHS."

Dr Wallitt qualified from Imperial College school of medicine in 2008 and worked for four years as a junior doctor in west London.

He said: "I wasn't happy with the way things were going. I looked at what my life was going to be like for the next 40 years and I didn't want that.

"I thought how can I do more good than just seeing one patient at a time?"

Earlier this week, the British Medical Association (BMA) reported a "huge surge" in the number of junior doctors joining the union.

Between Saturday September 26 and Monday, 5,451 doctors joined the BMA.

That took the total membership to just under 160,000. Around 80% of the new members are junior doctors.

It comes after the BMA said it would ballot its members over possible strike action.

Negotiations - including a meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - have broken down over working hours and pay.

The Government has said it plans to impose the new contract on doctors up to consultant level next year.

The contract will reclassify doctors' normal working week to include Saturdays and up to 10pm every night of the week except Sunday.

Medics argue they will lose out financially as evenings and Saturdays will be paid at the standard rate rather than a higher rate.

They say this amounts to pay cuts of up to 30%.


From Belfast Telegraph