Junior doctors protest over contract change proposals

Protesters hold banners at a demonstration in support of junior doctors in London Credit: Reuters

Junior doctors are protesting in London today against possible changes to their contract hours which are being proposed by the Health Secretary.

Jeremy Hunt's plans have been branded a "disgrace" but he says the proposals have been "misrepresented".

At the moment normal working hours for doctors are from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday.

Under the the proposals this would change to 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday.

Critics say this would effectively mean junior doctors, meaning any doctor under consultant level, would have their salaries cut by a third.

The protest, the second of its kind, comes after a breakdown in negotiations between Mr Hunt and representatives of the British Medical Association.

Peter Stefanovic, a partner in the clinical negligence department at Simpson Millar solicitors, gave a rousing speech which ended in the crowd chanting: "Hunt must go."

Asked about the new contract he said: "It's an absolute public disgrace. An absolute public disgrace. The injustice staggers the imagination.

"I am quite frankly astonished that I'm the only advocate that has come forward to fight for the junior doctors."

The protest started in Waterloo Place, London and will end outside the House of Commons.

Protests are also taking place in in Belfast and Nottingham with one planned tomorrow in Dundee on Sunday.

A protester holds a placard supporting junior doctors Credit: Reuters