Just one in four trainee doctors will remain at their NHS post if government contract changes go ahead, revealed a new poll carried out online by grassroots junior doctors.

Junior doctors could quit NHS

Junior doctors could quit NHS

The government has proposed new contracts that, if approved, would come into effect next August. Instead of working from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, the new contracts would see doctors working from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday for standard pay.

Currently, a trainee doctor's salary goes up every year, but the new contracts would change this automatic pay progression, where those who take time out of their training (for maternity leave, or to study further, for example), would not be eligible for a raise.

The online survey was completed by more than 6,000 trainees, equivalent to 12 per cent of all junior doctors in England. It found that 42 per cent of junior doctors would go abroad in search of work, while 18 per cent would resign their job in favour of more lucrative locum work, and 15 per cent said they would change career.

The poll also revealed that a huge percentage of respondents were in favour of strike action, with around two thirds supporting a full walkout.

Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chairman, said: "These findings paint a very worrying picture. They echo the outpouring of anger from junior doctors in recent weeks and show just how let down they feel by the government's proposals.

"If even a small proportion of junior doctors choose to vote with their feet it would be a disaster for the NHS, coming at a time when we need more doctors, not fewer to meet rising demand on services."