Monday, 20 August, 2018

Fury as Jeremy Hunt imposes controversial new contract on junior doctors

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Melissa Porter | 14 February, 2016, 17:32

The British Medical Association has still not managed to reach agreement on the new junior doctors' contract, meaning industrial action took place from 8am yesterday to 8am today and is likely to take place again later this year.

Junior doctors in Scotland have welcomed reassurances by Health secretary Shona Robison that the new contract being imposed on their English counterparts will not apply north of the border.

The industrial action saw hundreds of appointments and dozens of operations cancelled as doctors formed picket lines outside all Merseyside hospitals.

"Our message to the government is clear: Junior doctors cannot and will not accept a contract that is bad for the future of patient care, the profession and the NHS as a whole, and we will consider all options open to us", he continued.

Dr. Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA's junior doctor committee, said Mr. Hunt's decision to impose a new contract amounted to bullying tactics.

Hunt told the House of Commons on Thursday that last minute negotiations with the British Medical Association (BMA) had collapsed.

The first 24-hour strike was staged on January 12, being the first in 40 years.

"The Government is saying we don't care what you say about the long hours you have to work or the pay you get we are going to impose a contract and you are going to have to take it".

He even went as far to say that given time the changes would be accepted as "a good thing".

"This would give you the cost neutrality you seek and junior doctors the appropriate recognition for evenings, nights and weekends", he said.

But Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander, who has vehemently fought against the decision, argued there is no evidence to suggest mortality rates are due to the lack of junior doctors over the weekend.

She explained that the Government's proposed 11 percent pay increase in junior doctors’ salary would not make up for the "uplifts” they would lose for working anti-social hours and would mean a real-terms pay cut of as much as 50 percent for some.

In Barnet town center a "meet the doctors" event was held at the Spires shopping center during which junior doctors explained to shoppers the reasons for them taking the drastic action. Of the 278 junior doctors rostered to work at the hospital today, 124 are in work.

 

"Responsibility for this strike rests firmly with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt".