Hunt confirms junior doctor contracts will be imposed

12.30pm UPDATE

The health secretary confirmed in his statement that the contract will be imposed.

Jeremy Hunt told the House of Commons that junior doctors working one in four or more Saturdays would receive a 30% pay premium.

He admitted this represents a reduction in current rates but said hospitals must be able to afford additional weekend rostering.

In response to questions by shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander, he said: "When we have a seven day NHS in a few years time people will say it was obvious that this was the right thing to do."

He also said that the government will give doctors a 13.5% basic pay rise and that he has asked Dame Sue Bailey to lead a review into measures outside the contract that will improve morale.

Royal College of GPs chair Dr Maureen Baker said: "We are shocked and dismayed at the Government’s decision to impose a contract on our dedicated and committed junior doctors. Imposing a deal on junior doctors is wrong-headed, will inevitably damage morale across the NHS – and may damage patient care."

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: "Drawn out industrial action over contracts and pay would mean further disruption to patients who are relying on NHS care, with thousands more operations cancelled and check-ups delayed. Under these highly regrettable and entirely avoidable circumstances, hospitals are rightly calling for an end to the uncertainty, and the implementation of the compromise package the Dalton team are recommending.”


The government’s lead negotiator with the junior doctors has written to the health secretary urging the government to do “whatever it deems necessary” to end the dispute and implement a new service pattern, after the BMA rejected a final offer.

This makes it almost inevitable that ministers will impose a new contract, without the junior doctors' agreement.

In a letter yesterday to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, which has just been made public, Royal Salford NHS FT executive Sir David Dalton says he has had no assurance that the BMA will accept a last-minute offer and he has concluded that there is no realistic possibility of a negotiated settlement.

It has been revealed that the BMA’s council chair Dr Mark Porter and the junior doctors’ committee chair Dr Johann Malawana rejected the offer, which included a reduction of the hours designated as ‘plain-time’ and therefore not receiving anti-social hours pay, and premium rates to junior doctors working one out of four weekends or more. Dr Malawana replied insisting that the government accept an offer the doctors made in late December, which would increase out-of-hours pay by 14% and additional hours by 9%.

Dalton told Hunt: “Everyone’s first preference has always been for a negotiated outcome. Unfortunately this no longer seems possible. Following consultation with chief executives and other leaders in the service, it is clear that the NHS needs certainty on this contract and that a continuation of a dispute, with a stalemate and without any clear ending, would be harmful to service continuity, with adverse consequences to patients. On this basis I therefore advise the government to do whatever it deems necessary to end uncertainty for the service and to make sure that a new contract is in place which is as close as possible to the final position put forward to the BMA yesterday.”

 JD4 c.  John Stillwell, PA Wire

He says this position is supported by both the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers and includes a list of 18 other NHS chief executives who consider the proposal “fair and reasonable”.

The strike, which ran from 8am yesterday to 8am today, was the second in a bitter and long-running dispute over health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s efforts to impose longer working hours on weekdays and additional hours on weekends without increased pay, following a similar strike last month.

At least 2,884 operations were cancelled, although emergency care doctors didn’t strike and GP services were largely unaffected.

It now looks likely that the government will impose the proposed contract on doctors, a position supported by senior NHS executives. NHS Providers’ chief executive Chris Hopson said yesterday: “Four years later and 3,000 operations cancelled today, our members are saying that, to run their trusts effectively, we can’t carry on like this. For them, if the BMA won’t accept a fair and reasonable offer, then it would be legitimate and sensible for the secretary of state to consider imposition."

Hunt is expected to make a statement to the Commons today.

Dr Malawana told the Guardian: “Junior doctors already work around the clock, seven days a week and they do so under their existing contract. If the government want more seven-day services then, quite simply, they need more doctors, nurses and diagnostic staff, and the extra investment needed to deliver it.”

(Images c. John Stillwell)


Terry Nicholson   07/05/2016 at 05:24

FLAWED SYSTEM 5/7 STILL IN EXISTENCE – YOU CANT PUT A CUT OFF DATE ON THAT! TERRY . 7/7 not 5/7 So the conflict over how to change our NHS to a seven day week system is set to continue, as does also the blame game. All I know that from my family’s tragic experience the longer this conflict exist and the more acrid it becomes the total of weekend victims will continue . May I first of all put aside the myth that all patients entering hospital on a Friday have to do so because for them it is an emergency. From my experience I found the reverse to be more true, that entering hospital on a Friday it is more likely the outcome will develop into an emergency situation. My Mother entered a NHS DERRIFORD Hospital in Plymouth, our home town, on a Friday morning for a pre-arranged minor operation requiring only an overnight stay. The outcome was that on a Sunday she died in utter agony caused by peritonitis due to leaking clip/micro surgery. So over the weekend it went from having a minor op to then my brothers and I being asked to give our consent to have Mum’s life support system switched off..Mum died not long after. I shall never forget how helpless I felt at the time and being racked by guilt afterwards about could I have done more to have saved her. If that wasn’t traumatic enough my brothers and I set out to discover what went wrong and why. We were denied an internal review. Only option left was to take it to the Ombudsman who after a complaints process involving us and lasting three years. Finally the Ombudsman upheld our complaint , classed it as Avoidable and recommended a number of changes to be made. The first one being having a better structure available at weekends. All of this was done with effort to avoid this happening again, but fate wasn’t going to let us off that easy. As a few years later I read to my dismay that another patient had died in the same circumstances in the same hospital as Mum over a weekend period. I again wrote to the Ombudsman to draw his attention to the similarities between this case and my Mum’s. Her relatives chose to take the legal route. So a curse on this five day week system an all that seek to prolong it. Terry, Cirencester, Glos PS Terry, Perhaps you ought to mention that up to this point your Mum was extremely strong and healthy, both in body and mind. The photo will confirm this. The thing that sticks most in my mind was when Brian and I visited your Mum and found blood everywhere, over the bed and floor, Mum had been pressing her button and no one had answered it. It was only when we rushed out and summoned a nurse that the bleeding was stopped and she was made comfortable…….Jen

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