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BMA open to re-entering junior doctor talks following royal colleges' plea

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has urged the Government to withdraw its threat to impose a contract on junior doctors, and for the BMA to withdraw its threat to all-out strike - a suggestion welcomed by junior doctor leaders.

The statement, which is backed by all of the presidents of the medical royal colleges and faculties across the UK (22 in total), called the situation an ‘unprecedented crisis for the NHS’, and urged the parties to go back to negotiations.

The head of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee said this was a ’sensible idea’.

It comes after the BMA announced it would hold an all-out strike on 26 and 27 April, in which junior doctors would not provide emergency care.

The colleges’ statement said: ’This is a time of unprecedented crisis for the NHS. With this in mind and in the spirit of placing patient welfare first and foremost we are writing in response to the escalation of the junior doctor’s dispute in England.

’We call on both sides in the dispute to step back from the brink by suspending imposition of the contract and the all-out strike and urge a return to negotiations.

’We believe that this is essential if the current impasse is to be broken and progress made in resolving this extremely damaging stand-off for the benefit of all NHS stakeholders, particularly our patients and trainees.’

Tweeting in response, JDC chair Dr Johann Malawana said: ‘Sensible idea. Suspension of imposition [and] action best for all parties.’

Reacting to the all-out strike announcement last week, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said the college was ’shocked it has come to this’.

Urging ‘both sides’ to ’get back round the table to find a resolution’, she added: ’As stated in the GMC guidance, the safety of our patients is paramount and we expect doctors and NHS managers to work together to put in place alternative arrangements to ensure that anyone who needs emergency care receives it.’

Although it has yet to publish the final terms of the new junior doctor contract, the Government has said it will impose the removal of ’unsociable hours’ pay premiums from Saturdays and weekday evenings.

In the meantime, junior doctors are planning a 48-hour walk-out from planned care on 6 April and, for the first time in the history of the NHS, full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm on 26 and 27 April.

Readers' comments (20)

  • This is pathetic. BMA need to grow some balls fast. They should stop worrying about public opinion and go ahead with the all out strike. Too many hippis in UK.

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  • The message to the public now is
    the doctor goes or Mr Hunt goes out with his politics and ideology - can also mean a functional NHS or no NHS.

    A Final choice.

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  • This government needs to understand that we are not miners. They also need to stop comparing doctors to paramedics and porters, as they do. Their plan is to standardise what doctors can offer so they can have better control over us. What they dont get is that doctors without free will and thinking are no longer doctors. Yes, some colleagues are a$$holes who step on way too many toes but you get them in every profession. 'Penance' should not be paid by all for the sins of a few Mr @unt.

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  • Doctor Dog

    Might work but don't hold your breath.

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  • And what? He'll cancel the imposition, get nowhere in negotiations and reinstate it. And you'll do what?

    Don't fall for it. Smart moves by Johann to take the high-ground, but unless you have a sucker-punch hidden somewhere, this is going nowhere. He can't afford to back down on it.

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  • The sucker-punch is that we are not miners.

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  • Shut up about miners. They were decent people fighting for their jobs and their communities which were destroyed by the political party currently in power. Your comparison that 'we are not miners' implies a superiority and arrogance that we are better than them. We are not.

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  • @ 3:16

    If you dont know the difference between doctors and miners then let me educate you. A miner may start digging age 16 with or without a learning disability. A doctor spends many years sacrificing and studying to become what less than 1% of the population can become. No disrespect to miners, my issue is the government trying to demean and insult us. Miners get paid for what they do and what the market dictates. They actually have more rights than doctors. If the government allowed market forces to dictate then we wouldt have a problem.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • @4.14. Its 'Marxist'. Didn't your public school teach you to spell correctly? Obviously those years of 'studying and sacrificing' were a bit lost on you. Pity mummy and daddy wasted all that money. Learn to type and spellcheck, then post. Until then stop speaking out of your backside you capitalist snob.

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  • The time for negotiation has passed. BMA tweeting immediately that it's a sensible idea exhibits weakness on it's side. If you are fighting for your rights and convinced in your arguments and cause, just sit tight and go ahead with the strike action. It is the other side that needs to wave the olive. Negotiations are an art - you don't know who is behind the push by the Royal Colleges. Maybe some Eton friends of JH? If not sure, don't make any further conciliatory moves as they won't be appreciated.

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