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The waiting game

BMA judicial review is 'bound to fail', says Hunt

The BMA should withdraw its claim for judicial review over the junior doctor contract imposition because it is ‘bound to fail’, according to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The junior doctors committee said it would launch review proceedings after learning Mr Hunt did not carry out an equality impact assessment - which it must undertake before implementing a new policy - before deciding to impose the contract.

But in a response letter published on the Government’s website this afternoon, lawyers acting for Mr Hunt said the claim was ‘misconceived’ because he has not yet finalised the terms of the contract and can therefore still take into account an equality impact assessment.

The letter said that the draft final terms would be provided to the health secretary ‘shortly’, alongside the equaity impact assessment. It said he would then ’carefully consider those terms, alongside and in the light of the [assessment]’.

The lawyers wrote: ’The Secretary of State has an open mind regarding the final terms of the contract and, if he considers it appropriate, would amend the draft final terms in light of the content of the [equality impact assessment]. In the circumstances, the Secretary of State considers that your client’s claim is bound to fail.’

The letter concluded by urging the BMA to refrain from claiming for a review to save the money of its own members and taxpayers, but warned that the health secretary would resist any claim that was put forward.

It said: ’Accordingly, we hope that your client will refrain from instituting costly, and ultimately ineffectual, proceedings: costly both to the Claimant’s members and to the taxpayer. If, however, proceedings are issued, they will be resisted.’

It comes as the BMA is organising further strikes over the imposition this week.


Readers' comments (9)

  • Vinci Ho

    Agent Hunt,
    For your own good, hope this is not the same bunch of lawyers who defended you in the JR when you tried to close the Lewisham emergency department in 2013:
    ''In October 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not have power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital''. You have sacked those lawyers, haven't you?

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  • The BMA should pursue this legal route as intended, as it will highlight how politically motivated Mr Hunt is. Mr Hunt's dictatorial style will be exposed. And will bring out many flaws in his policy and ideology. It could a public show for the media to show how the NHS is politically manipulated.

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  • Oh to be a lawyer.....charge the NHS a fortune £3k per hour?

    Oh its just over £100 all in per year per patient for every contact.....

    should have been a lawyer

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  • He really feels the syndicate is able to mould the law to its liking. Sorry, sometimes the establishment needs a rubbing of nose and he may be in for a drubbing.

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  • It's all good. One more nail in your coffin of shame and infamy Hunt. Even if it fails we are still leaving the profession, we are still cutting down on our sessions and locuming. Many are leaving the profession and/or the country. You massively underestimate the damage you are causing to the NHS and ever more mahusevily overestimating your ability to privatise it. People will be chanting off with his head very soon.

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  • I wish they were. Unfortunately he is fully supported by the govt. My experiences with the BMA legal department is that they are wetter than the Niagra falls. They have absolutely not b'lls and if they do the work then Hunt will be right.
    I asked for a legal opinion with respect to obvious human rights issues which related to revalidation which affected me as a doctor as I refused to be vaccinated, but they could not have supported me less. As a result I left medicine.

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  • GPs are such a non commercial bunch. The reason the government's lawyers have done this is so that when the BMA fail, all the governments costs will automatically be awarded for the BMA to pick up. It is a well known legal ploy and the BMAs lawyers have a duty to advise the BMA to back down. It's a game people.

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  • Does the public really give a stuff about "equality impact assesments",whatever they are?
    If this is the best argument the BMA can come up with then we realyy are lost.

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