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Doctor accommodation move attacked

The Conservatives have criticised measures which mean hospitals no longer have to provide junior doctors with accommodation in their first year.

Before the introduction of the Modernising Medical Careers system, employers had to offer Pre-Registration House Officers accommodation on site for their first year of training.

But changes introduced in a statutory instrument mean Foundation Year 1 doctors are no longer automatically entitled to rooms.

The change came into force in August this year, but hospitals were asked to delay it to 2008, as jobs had already been advertised with living quarters.

Conservative health spokesman Stephen O’Brien said: “Not content with the trouble they have caused junior doctors through the mess ministers made of Modernising Medical Careers, the Government has also taken the roof over their heads.

“These frontline clinical professionals are the future of our NHS – what attitude does this Government have to our future healthcare?

“To take away their accommodation is one thing: brazenly to take it away, shirking consultation with doctors, medical students and parliamentarians, is quite another.”

But a Department of Health spokesman said: “The requirement for all doctors in their first year of foundation training to be resident in the hospital where they work is archaic and unnecessary for their training and the care of patients.

“It is also inconsistent with the Working Time Directive and our commitment to reduce junior doctors’ hours.”

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Stephen O’Brien