In sickness and in wealth? As thousands prepare to protest in Leeds, the junior doctors row explained

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Thousands of junior doctors and their supporters are set to descend on Victoria Gardens in Leeds tonight to protest against proposed changes to NHS contracts.

But what is the dispute all about and how might it be resolved? Here the Yorkshire Evening Post looks at the facts behind the rhetoric.

The row centres on changes to junior doctor contracts that could come into force next summer.

The British Medical Association (BMA) argues that the new deal would see doctors working longer hours.

There have also been claims that pay could be reduced by up to 30 per cent due to a revised definition of “unsociable hours”.

The BMA says it will only re-enter negotiations with the Government if it wins a series of “concrete assurances”. They include:

* Proper recognition of unsocial hours as premium time;

* No disadvantage for those working unsocial hours compared to the current system;

* No disadvantage for those working less than full time and taking parental leave compared to the current system;

* Pay for all work done.

Health service chiefs, however, are adamant that the contract changes will mean a better set-up for patients and doctors alike.

An analysis of the dispute on the NHS Employers website says advantages of the proposed system include:

* Enhancing the quality and quantity of training opportunities for junior doctors;

* A higher basic rate, with a significant increase in basic salary;

* Proportionate payment for additional hours worked (including when on-call);

* Unsocial hours paid at a higher rate.

A ballot on whether medics should take industrial action over the dispute will open next Thursday, November 5.

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