HEALTH Secretary Hunt has decided that Junior Doctors are to have a new contract imposed on them from August next year.
The imposition follows on from a final decision by members of the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctors committee not to re-enter contract negotiations with NHS Employers. However, the BMA Consultants Committee has decided to re-enter negotiations, leaving the Junior Doctors fighting on their own.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt warned the BMA he would look to impose a new contract if progress on negotiations had not been made by 11 September. On Tuesday, the BMA Consultants said they agreed to resume talks leaving the Junior Doctors out on a limb.
Dr Andrew Collier, co-chair of the BMA junior doctor hit back yesterday: ‘We urge the government not to impose a contract that is unsafe and unfair. We will resist a contract that is bad for patients, bad for Junior Doctors and bad for the NHS.’
The Junior Doctors Committee said the proposals were unsafe for patients and unfair to doctors. It highlighted plans to extend routine working hours from 60 hours a week to 90 hours a week and remove the current pay banding system. Collier added: ‘The BMA wants to deliver a contract that protects patient safety and is fair to both junior doctors and the health service as a whole. However we can only do this if the UK government and others are prepared to work collaboratively in a genuine negotiation.
‘We listened to the vast majority of Junior Doctors who told us that the DDRB proposals are not acceptable. We remain committed to agreeing a contract that protects against Junior Doctors routinely working long hours, delivers a fair system of pay, values the vital role of training and does not disadvantage those in flexible working. We have not received adequate assurance from the government that they are committed to achieving these goals.’
There was no statement from the BMA Council chair Mark Porter yesterday on this vital issue. BMA member Anna Athow commented: ‘Dr Kitty Mohan has pointed out that despite the current safeguards, Junior Doctors could end up working 90 hours in one week. Last Thursday 10th September, the BMA’s consultants committee, (CCSC) at a special meeting, voted to go back into talks. This was a stab in the back for Junior Doctors.
‘The whole BMA must rally behind the Junior Doctors and the consultants must stop conciliatory talks, stand with the Junior Doctors and stand up for their current contract. The full BMA Conference must be recalled to give full support to the Junior Doctors and to veto the Consultants Committee decision to return to talks.’