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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)

  • Professor Cumming should stick to medicine rather than attempting to "bully" others. "Thuggery" has always been rife in the NHS. We must move beyond "gangsterism" and look at the root cause of these problems.

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  • Funny that Bankers and all other private sectors operate according to Market Forces. We are told by the Tories (who worship market forces) that they must be obeyed EXCEPT when it comes to the public sector when they must be forcibly resisted for fear of paying people their market worth.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Difficult to describe the feelings after reading the news about young Dr Polge. Would respect the privacy of the family at such a time ........

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  • This is pure and simple blackmail - of doctors by one. Utterly disgraceful. Funding for training should be based on educational suitability alone. I will be interested to see how the BMA now responds, but mass resignation would be my option.

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  • BMA after agreement with royal colleges and junior doctors advises government on a certain day juniors wont turn up for work- chief executives of hospitals advise governemt that hospitals are no longer safe if this action goes ahead- we are a caring/incredibly hardworking/decent profession who has been vilified in the press and by this government .I have been a doctor for very nearly 40yrs so have been through the "bad on call days "but I have never witnessed such bullying and crass stupidity by any government or its officers

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  • Perhaps Mr Hunt is doing all young folks a favour. Reading the Medical defence webpage on increasing litigation and GMC on increasing control, it is perhaps better not to be a doctor in the UK, at all. Litigation can stop any doctor at any time through one [ even perceived ] mistake, after years and years of struggle. The medical game is no longer worth the candle in this country.
    Besides after working so, so hard to become a doctor and working so, so hard as one, all you get is abuse from the papers and politicians, patient groups and even our peers, such as Field/ Thomas.
    With the brains these young people have to become a doctor they could o something else, much much easier and much better paid, such as Engineering.
    I, for one, would warn any young person of the very real dangers of litigation, GMC and CQC.
    Best avoided. Stay away from medicine as a career.

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  • So, what happened to the independence of Foundation Trusts?
    Give with one hand and take away with the other.

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  • Junior doctors cannot have it both ways.
    If they accept that they are public sector workers, with the benefits of an assured and funded training pathway, they must accept that the Government is effectively their employer, and thus sets the contract.
    If they don't like that, they are free to try the private sector.
    A collectivised State system inevitably means that the wants of the few are subjugated to the needs of the many.

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  • ‘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.’ Why should patient and service need and quality of training be affected by varying the contract? The short answer is that there is no necessary connection and this is being manufactured as an excuse to bully. The health service really needs to get its act together as a generation of young doctors are soon just going to turn their back on a bullying manipulative deceitful employer and quite rightly turn their sought after skills down other avenues. Medical schools now have a responsibility at selection to point out that the Department of Health is a rogue organisation and they should get propsective students to sign disclaimers confirming that they have been warned!

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  • Bullying. Inappropriate. Unnecessary. Despicable.

    Mr Hunt, HEE, Sir David Dalton and others - you are not helping.

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