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GPs go forth

Implement junior doctor contract or lose funding, hospital bosses warned

Exclusive Training bosses have threatened hospitals thinking of offering an alternative contracts to their junior doctors with a loss of funding for training places.

In a letter to foundation trust chief executives, Health Education England (HEE) chief executive Professor Ian Cumming warned that ‘implementation of the national contract will be a key criterion’ when HEE decides on training post ‘investment’.

The warning comes as several chief executives had distanced themselves from the Government’s decision last week to impose the contract, with commenters suggesting that hospitals should negotiate their own terms with junior doctors and the BMA urging meetings between junior doctors and hospital employers.

But in his letter, Mr Cumming stated: ‘We are not prepared to see a system where a competition based on a local employer’s ability to offer different terms is part of the recruitment process.

‘The recruitment process should be based on patient and service need and quality of training as it always has been. Therefore implementation of the national contract will be a key criterion for HEE in making its decisions on our investment in training posts.’

A HEE spokesperson told Pulse: ’National terms and conditions have served the NHS well in managing the education, training and on-going development of doctors in training.

’It ensures a system based on service and patient need rather than Trusts competing to offer different terms and conditions. We wish that system to continue which is what we said in the letter to chief executives.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last Thursday that he would impose his new contract, after negotiators concluded agreement was unlikely despite months of talks and two days of strike action by junior doctors.

This followed the BMA’s rejection of final offer which included a reduction on the working hours designated plain time during the week and on Saturdays, but would still remove the pay premium for Saturday working.

Do hospitals have to implement the new junior doctor contract?

Currently national training tariffs see HEE paying ’salary support’ for junior doctors training posts, which amounts to 50% of the salary costs with the other half met by the trust.

Professor Cumming’s letter is apparently aimed at staving off deviations from a national contract which would allow foundation trusts to compete over terms to attract candidates. Foundation trusts are the only ones free to negotiate their own terms, while other trusts are bound by the contract.

The BMA has said that it is ‘considering all options’ in response to the imposition, including further strikes.


Readers' comments (24)

  • The medical farternity needs to be more vocal and aggressive - we being walked all over. United you stand and is now survival of the fittest. BMA need to show more aggression and determination - in the mean time sign the petition---
    "Consider a vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary"

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  • "The number of doctors applying to work abroad surged by 1,000 per cent on the day Jeremy Hunt imposed new contract"

    The independent today.


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  • @robin jackson

    thanks for the lesson in utilitarianism.

    I would argue, however, that we're not in a communist state and therefore workers, even a small pocket of them, have the right to carry out industrial action and have protection from their terms and conditions impeded.

    The fact that it is a single employer is irrelevant.

    And sadly, many doctors are leaving the country or the private sector.

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  • Reinforces the concept of bullying in the NHS - do as you're told or suffer the consequences. Robert Frances should speak out on recent events!

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  • Vinci Ho

    Jeremy Bentham's original ideology was to maximize utility . Utility means whatever to produce happiness and pleasure and avoid pain and suffering in people.
    I cannot see the way this whole government's strategies going would make majority of people happier and lessen their pain and suffering .(Of course, those 7 days NHS;GP opening protagonists/Cameron-Osbourne-Hunt sympathisers would strongly disagree).
    Why? Because, the hidden agenda of the state/government is never about commitment to uphold the flag.

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  • Vinci Ho

    ...the flag of NHS....

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  • There are absolutely no grounds for this intervention whatsoever. A different contract will have no effect on the quality of training. This is bullying pure and simple and HEE should be ashamed of themselves.

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  • Ludicrous. Another nail into the coffin of " free " NHS. If i was starting again there is no way I would be a Doctor. Dangerous unrewarding career.
    My children tell me that medical students are changing courses.
    Docs retiring early.
    Docs emigrating
    Docs changing career
    nurse staffing shortages

    Get out of this horrendous treadmill

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  • It is time that bright young things realise that medicine in this country is based on bullying, imposed Contracts, long hours, poor pay, ogres of GMC, CQC, litigation etc.
    There will always be young folks who want to do medicine for it is a wonderful profession, but they must be made aware of the risks by their career officers in schools.
    It is their choice afterwards.
    I would not choose medicine today. It is too traumatic and too full of fight backs, war and battles.
    I do not wish to be a fighter all my life

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  • Mr Cumming is going in the wrong direction with this one.
    He should step aside and consider this. Allowing Hospital bosses to negotiate individual contracts with Junior doctors may actually be a boon in disguise and help get over this impasse over Contracts.
    Hospitals will certainly be looking into giving contracts within their resources and negotiating real and acceptable terms to junior doctors which means the Exchequer doesn't not have to dig into it's pockets.
    Opportunity for JH to let the problem fade away into oblivion and save face without further confrontation.
    Unless Cumming is digging JH's grave, I don't see why he should try to prevent Hospital bosses taking this initiative which might actually be of mutual benefit.

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