News

09.05.16

BMA re-enters talks with government over junior doctors' contract

The BMA has re-entered talks with the government today (9 May) over the controversial junior doctors’ contract.

Last week it was confirmed that junior doctors’ representatives agreed to suspend the threat of strike action for five days and re-enter talks with the government in order to try to break the impasse.

The move came after the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges called on both sides in the dispute to return to the table — with negotiations chaired by a third party.

In a letter to Professor Dame Sue Bailey, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would ‘pause’ the introduction of the contract on the condition that junior doctors agree to return to the negotiating table. He also asked for a written agreement from the BMA’s junior doctors’ committee that they will negotiate “substantively and in good faith” on the outstanding issues of unsocial hours and Saturday pay.

After agreeing to return to the negotiating table, the BMA said five days of ‘intensive talks’ from today to Friday are planned and Acas chair Sir Brendan Barber will lead the negotiations.

Johann Malawana, the BMA junior doctors’ committee chair, said “The BMA has agreed to re-enter talks with the Government on outstanding issues in this dispute, which include, but are not limited to, unsocial hours.

“Junior doctors’ concerns extend far beyond pay, and our principle in talks will be to deliver a fair contract that does not discriminate against women or any other group, one which addresses the recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS and which provides the basis for delivering a world-class health service.

“The BMA will also call for any contract offer — agreed or not — to be put to a referendum of junior doctors, as is usual following a contract negotiation.

“We hope that with both parties back around the negotiating table, real progress can be made to end this dispute through talks.”

The bitter dispute has led to five strikes so far and the threat of indefinite strike action as both sides, until now, have refused to compromise.

A statement from Acas said: “After consultations with both parties in recent days, the BMA and government representatives accepted an invitation from the chair of Acas Sir Brendan Barber to take part in five days of intensive talks to seek to resolve outstanding differences in the current junior doctors' dispute.”

(Image: c. Andrew Matthews)

Comments

Ed Tables   09/05/2016 at 13:20

It's time that doctors behave as responsible citizens and debate - yes most certainly; but without striking. Striking for recognition of one's rights is not the best way to achieve anything in life. It's an ugly way to get something.

Dr. Koshy   09/05/2016 at 13:24

Good. Junior doctors and the BMA have always asked Mr. Hunt to talk with them and enter negotiations. Mr. Hunt's view was nothing short of dictatorial in thinking what he said was (and had to be ) correct. I am pleased that he is now willing to enter negotiations. The negotiating chair is still there for you Mr. Hunt.

Captain Sensible   10/05/2016 at 13:32

Ed Tables wants to get real ! Hunt is hell bent on imposing a contract on junior doctors. He says "Striking for recognition of one's rights is not the best way to achieve anything in life." What would he suggest the best way to deal with such a dictatorial attitude ? Say please don't do it? They screwed the dental profession, they are selling off the best bits to Virgin and are intent on killing the NHS by any means

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