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20.07.16

‘No benefits’ from junior doctors’ contract imposition, says head of Royal College

Jeremy Hunt has been urged not to impose the new contract on junior doctors in an impassioned appeal from Professor Neena Modi, head of the Royal College of Paediatrics.

Hunt, who kept his post as health secretary in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, says the new contract is necessary to ensure adequate staffing levels to deliver a seven-day NHS, but junior doctors have said it will force them to work dangerously long hours.

In a letter to the health secretary, Professor Modi says the contract is particularly damaging because NHS services are already “running on empty” because of its financial deficit and is likely to face further “severe financial pressures” following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

She tells Hunt: “At this time of national turmoil I ask you please to reflect. There are no benefits that will ensue from implementing this contract. Pull back from the brink of inflicting yet further damage, and instead secure an honourable place in history by restoring UK health services to be once more the envy of the world.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) and the government agreed on the latest version of the contract in breakthrough talks after a series of strikes, but doctors then rejected it in a referendum vote, leading Hunt to renew his decision to impose it.

Professor Modi also says that the contract is based on a false premise because junior doctors already work seven days a week.

She calls it “divisive”, saying it undermines parity of pay and conditions between the four countries of the UK and different specialities, repeating concerns that it discriminates against women doctors.

(Image c. Ben Birchall from PA Wire)

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