THE government has been hit with a second legal challenge over its imposition of the new contract for junior doctors which forces them to work even longer hours
This, doctors rightly insist will endanger patient safety, because ‘tired doctors make mistakes’. NHS staff campaign group ‘Just Health’ started the legal proceedings after raising £100,000 in four days online.
The news comes on the eve of the next junior doctors strike, a 48-hour strike beginning tomorrow at 8am. Just Health alleges that the government’s decision to impose the contract, affecting about 45,000 medics, did not allow for ‘adequate consultation’.
Dr Marie-Estella McVeigh, from Just Health, said: ‘We feel this contract imposition has been rushed through without appropriate consideration and due process. There is no evidence that it will deliver a safer system or better quality care for our patients; it will instead exacerbate the staffing crisis we are already struggling with across the NHS.’
The move follows separate legal action made by the British Medical Association last week seeking a judicial review. The BMA, in its legal claim is challenging the lawfulness of the health secretary’s decision to impose the junior doctors’ contract.
It is based on the government’s failure to pay due regard to the equalities impact prior to imposition.
Junior doctors also strongly criticised the government’s decision to publish the contract on the NHS Employers website. BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana said it represented a ‘total failure’ on the Government’s part.
Dr Malawana said: ‘The government’s shambolic mishandling of the process, from start to finish, has alienated a generation of doctors – the hospital doctors and GPs of the future – leaving a real risk that some will vote with their feet and the future of patient care will be affected.’