HEALTH Secretary Hunt’s decision to impose the new contract onto junior doctors must be reversed since the premise behind the contract’s proposals is ‘False’.
This was the demand from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Neena Modi, who wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt criticising the ‘divisive’ contract.
She said it had further damaged ‘parity of pay, and terms and conditions that have been a unifying force within UK health services’.
Hunt has claimed the new contract is necessary to deliver the government’s manifesto pledge of ‘seven-day services’ — but Professor Modi said a truly seven-day service would need more investment in diagnostics and interventional capabilities and junior doctors had always worked weekends anyway.
Professor Modi called on Hunt to reflect on his decision and ‘pull back from the brink of inflicting yet further damage’ on UK health services which were once the ‘envy of the world’.
She said: ‘Junior doctors are the backbone and the future of the health services. Over the course of a 35-year career NHS doctors commit to devoting their working lives to a publicly funded health service because they understand that health is the greatest human capital of all and healthcare is not a commodity.
‘UK healthcare is in the midst of crippling financial constraints with Brexit introducing further severe pressures. Junior doctor and consultant vacancies are as high as 20 per cent; frontline and preventive services are under siege; health services are running on empty, reliant on the dedication of staff.
‘The protracted dispute between (doctors) and government has been deeply damaging and I hope both sides will now be able to heal wounds and regain trust.’