REJECT JUNIOR DOCTORS CONTRACT! – says the Doctors’ Association

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A picket line of junior doctors at King's College during their strike over the unfair and unsafe contract imposed by then-health secretary Jeremy Hunt

THE Doctors’ Association (DAUK) has refused to endorse the junior doctor contract deal agreed by the BMA and the government, warning that some members could be £18,000 worse off as a result.

The grassroots group said whilst it has reviewed the framework agreement and is grateful for the efforts made by BMA negotiators with NHS Employers, it does not believe the proposed revisions to the rejected 2016 contract will be advantageous to junior doctors.

The Doctors Association said the changes to the contract ‘appear to largely undermine’ junior doctors and it is ‘appalled’ at the below-inflation 2% annual pay rise.

The 2% pay rise refers to the BMA proposals to guarantee an annual 2% increase in pay over the next four years.

The Association said: ‘We are appalled that a meagre, below-inflation 2% uplift is being presented as a pay rise, when it is likely to be an almost guaranteed pay cut.’

According to the group, senior registrars will be disproportionately disadvantaged and could be up to £18,000 worse off from the loss of pension contributions and could lead to a worsening of the retention crisis.

It said: ‘Alarmingly, DAUK have identified a key cohort of junior doctors who will be significantly disadvantaged yet again by this deal. It appears our registrars, who were most affected when the contract was imposed on them in 2016 have been disproportionately impacted again. This means our senior registrars, our most experienced junior doctors, could be up to £18,000 worse off by the proposed deal.

‘This is not only grossly unfair to these “doctors left behind” but will risk worsening the retention crisis; potentially losing these trainees just a few short years before they become consultants.’

In a statement, the Doctors’ Association concluded: ‘We also have significant concern at the incredibly tight deadline junior doctors have been given, with the BMA and NHS Employers hoping to have this deal ratified and implemented by August 2019. This begs with question whether there are significant political motivations at play which should not have any place in securing the future of junior doctors, in an NHS that can ill afford to lose a single one.

‘We are over 10,000 doctors short across the frontlines, with a growing recruitment crisis likely to be exacerbated by Brexit. Junior doctors do much for the NHS, it is high time they were appropriately valued by this government.’

DAUK also remains concerned that the full contract has not been presented to members, only a Framework Agreement.

DAUK is also concerned regarding the timescale given for members to read all the information presented to them, vote on a deal, and potentially deliver this, all before August 2019.

‘We question why this needs to be the case. Such a bitter and long-running dispute deserves to be resolved properly, in however much time that takes.

‘DAUK feels that any political motivation for delivering the contract before August should be firmly rejected and should have no place in getting the right deal for junior doctors.’

BMA junior doctors committee chair Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya responded: ‘These changes are the result of three years of hard negotiating and lobbying by the BMA, and represent significant improvements to the pay, conditions and training opportunities for junior doctors across the NHS in England …

‘We must be clear, however, if our junior doctor members in England vote yes it means that these changes can be implemented as soon as possible, the additional funding is secured, we come out of dispute and have a process for negotiating on further areas of concern. A no vote means we will stay on the contract unfairly imposed on us in 2016.’