Basics of the Junior Doctor Contract

With so much hearsay about the 2016 Junior Doctor Contract, it’s tricky separating fact from fiction. In the next part of our training video series we cover the basics of the JDC and what it means for doctors working in the NHS.


Contract and work schedule

Your trust should send you a contract and generic work schedule 8 weeks prior to you starting your job. This obligation comes from Health Education England who oversees the placement and contracting of doctors in training.

Your generic work schedule should include where you will work, details of your Educational Supervisor and Rota Coordinator, your general working hours and expectation for on-calls, out-of-hours and weekend working. It will also summarise your pay and the training opportunities you can expect in your role.

Your contract should include things like pension arrangements, annual leave, study leave, induction arrangements and local pre-employment checks. It should also detail expenses you will be able to claim, like travel or relocation costs, and pay deductions, like mess fees or accommodation costs.

If you don’t get information on time, contact the HR department in your Trust.


Your rota

A personalised detailed work schedule or rota should be with you at least 6 weeks prior to your work start date. This work schedule details exactly when you are expected to work, including the specific shifts and hours and what you will be doing. You should clarify with the rota coordinator if you have any problems with the rota or don’t understand any aspect of it. There is a checklist of conditions that must be met with regard to your rota and you can read more about these in our article Your Rights on Rotas.


Guardian of Safe Working Hours

Your Guardian of Safe Working hours should be named on your work schedule with their contact details. Their role is to be an independent senior person who is responsible to ensure that the Trust meets the terms and conditions of your contract. They are your first port of call with any queries about your pay, rota or contract, and who you need to involve if you choose to do exception reporting. Read more here.


Find out more

Some other useful sources of information on the JDC can be found at NHS employers and the BMA website. You can read our other article on

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