New chair of RCGP registrars committee takes up junior doctors' contract battle

The first challenge for Dr Laura Armitage, the new chairwoman of the RCGP AiT committee, has been to tackle the fallout from a potential 31% pay cut for GP registrars.

Dr Laura Armitage
Dr Laura Armitage

Dr Armitage took on leadership of the committee in September and her agenda is already being heavily influenced by the government’s plan to impose a new contract on junior doctors that removes the pay supplement for GP registrars.

‘This is the most pressing issue for us,’ she said. ‘I’m working with the college and the BMA to encourage the government to make more constructive changes to the contract.’

Dr Armitage, an Oxford GP registrar in her third year of training, said the contract is due to be implemented from August 2016.

Contract changes could damage patient care

‘This is a huge concern because a change like this could damage patient care, as well as demoralise the profession.

‘There is now significant concern about next year’s recruitment of GP trainees, when already there are many training places unfilled across the UK.’

Dr Armitage, who is speaking at the RCGP annual conference in Glasgow this week, said recruitment and retention would be a central focus of her year as chairwoman of the AiT committee: ‘As a part of that, I would really like to unify trainees across the country.

‘We have some incredible doctors on the GP training schemes and it would be great to contact them and engage them.’

She said despite the problems, this was still a good time to take up a career in general practice.

‘It’s a time of change, but we have the opportunity to influence outcomes and enhance the services that we provide. We can make sure that we are part of a general practice service that patients and doctors value.’

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