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GPs go forth

Government and BMA reach agreement in junior doctor dispute

The BMA and the Government have reached an agreement in the long-running junior doctor dispute, which will see trainees given enhanced payments for evening and weekend working, Acas has announced.

The agreement means that trainees who work more than one every weekend in eight will receive enhanced payments, while any shifts beginning at 8pm or later will receive 37% enhanced payment for every hour worked.

This will be subject to a vote of junior doctors who are members of the BMA, who could still throw it out.

Acas said some of the elements of the new contract, if approved, will be implemented in August, while ’all junior doctors will move on to the agreed new terms between October 2016 and August 2017’.

The statement said: ’This has now been agreed by all parties as resolving the current dispute subject to securing the support of BMA junior doctor members in a referendum.

’Work will be done together by both sides over the next two weeks to finalise the communications with BMA members on all the details of the agreement and their new contract.’

Acas chairman Sir Brendan Barber, who has led talks, said negotiators from both sides ’have worked with great intensity and in a good spirit to achieve this breakthrough’.

He said: ’This long-running dispute has clearly been an extraordinarily difficult period for the NHS. So I am glad that as well as cooperating closely in preparing the communications for the upcoming referendum, all the parties are also strongly committed to tackling together the bigger, wider challenges facing the NHS.’

Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said he was ’pleased to have reached agreement’.

He said: ’Junior doctors have always wanted to agree a safe and fair contract, one that recognises and values the contribution junior doctors make to the NHS, addresses the recruitment and retention crisis in parts of the NHS and provides the basis for delivering a world-class health service.

‘I believe that what has been agreed today delivers on these principles, is a good deal for junior doctors and will ensure that they can continue to deliver high-quality care for patients. This represents the best and final way of resolving the dispute and this is what I will be saying to junior doctors in the weeks leading up to the referendum on the new contract.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ’We welcome this significant agreement which delivers important changes to the junior doctors’ contract necessary to deliver a safer seven day NHS.

’The talks have been constructive and positive and highlighted many areas outside the contract where further work is necessary to value the vital role of junior doctors and improve the training and support they are given. This deal represents a definitive step forward for patients, for doctors, and for the NHS as a whole.’

Main changes to the imposed contract

  • A new rate of pay for weekend working, which will enhance payments more for more weekend worked. This will be worked out as:
Frequency Percentage 

1 weekend in 2



<1 weekend in 2 – 1 weekend in 4




<1 weekend in 4 – 1 weekend in 5




<1 weekend in 5 – 1 weekend in 7




<1 weekend in 7 – 1 weekend in 8




<1 weekend in 8



No weekend allowance

  • An agreement that any shift which starts at or after 8pm, lasts more than 8 hours and finishes at or by 10am the following day, should attract an enhanced pay rate of 37% for all hours worked;
  • An increase in the ‘flexible pay premia’ – an incentive for short-staffed specialties – for oral and maxillofacial surgery, emergency medicine and psychiatry to £20,000 for the whole training period. GP trainees will still get a premia of £8,200 a year, as agreed before;
  • A ‘guardian of safe working’ will need to be in place for GP trainees. If there are fewer than 10 GP trainees in a practice, practices must jointly appoint the guardian with similar employers or enter into a contract with a neighbouring trust;
  • Accelerated learning opportunities to allow doctors who have taken time out of training to catch up;
  • Pay protection when trainees switch training paths due to caring responsibilities;




Readers' comments (41)

  • Bertie

    Well done everyone.

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  • Wait and see before slapping each other's backs. Did the BMA give in or did the government.

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  • The BMA obviously gave in. There should be no compromise and juniors demands!!

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  • I am afraid the medical student may be correct. I await the details with trepidation....

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  • Vinci Ho

    Interested to look into all details.
    Important that this will go through a referendum .
    On the other hand , this situation will have to happen eventually and as expected , a 'stepping down' platform ( the pause) for Agent Hunt served its political purpose .

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  • So what , exactly, has been agreed ? That JD's will get a little bit more for Saturdays but will still have to work like stink. Beware the slimy Hunt, he cannot be trusted .

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  • I'm just pleased that my son after 6years at med school isn't about to go to work, to go on strike!

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  • I can guarantee this contract will be terrible for doctors but the BMA will still recommend it as being great. BMA are more useless than a chocolate teapot.

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  • i don't think the BMA had much choice - there was a lot of pressure on them from the media, royal colleges, patient groups, politicians and at the last minute the idea that doctors could be replaced with other staff was put forward in the media.

    it is sad that the media and public will spin this as junior doctors getting what they want when it was a case of them not losing what they had ! doctors didn't have good deal to begin with and getting a slightly less than worse deal isn't good when this government always goes back on it's word.

    we are likely to be back here in a few years - why? there is no money to fund extra staff or pay for existing staff and demand is still rising - the result will be existing staff will be stretched further and will be even unhappier than they are now.

    i wouldn't be surprised if the majority of juniors reject the 'deal'.

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  • The new deal is quite frankly shit! In no other industry is weekend working 9am to 9pm regarded as standard working hours. The juniors should reject the new deal without thinking twice. #NoCompromise!

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