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Independents' Day

Hunt announces junior doctor contract imposition

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that he will impose the new junior doctor contract, despite a majority of doctors rejecting it.

In a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Hunt said the Government does 'now need to proceed with the implementation of the new contract, to end uncertainty'.

Mr Hunt said his door remained open to the BMA to discuss ’both the way the new contract is implemented, extra contractual issues like training and rostering and the contents of future contracts’.

The contract that would be imposed will be the compromise negotiated with the BMA in May rather than the orginal offer made by the Government.

Mr Hunt said: 'I do believe the agreement negotiated in May is better for junior doctors, and better for the NHS than the original contract we planned to introduce in March.

'So rather than try to wind the clock back to the March contract, we will not change any of the new terms agreed with the BMA.'

He also said the contract would be phased in.

He said: 'Last night Professor Dame Sue Baily, president of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said that the NHS and junior doctors needed to move on from this dispute, and that if the government proceeds with the new contract, it should be implemented in a phased way, that allowed time to learn from any teething problems.

'After listening to this advice, and further careful considerations of the equalities impact of the new contract, I have this morning decided that e only realistic way to end this impasse is to proceed with the phased introduction of the exact contract that was negotiated, agreed, and supported by the BMA leadership.'

Addressing why he had made the decision, Mr Hunt said it was also influenced by the political unrest that has followed the UK's vote to leave the EU.

He said: 'Protracted uncertainty at precisely the time we grapple with enormous consequences of leaving the EU can only be damaging to those working in the NHS and on patients who depend on it.'

The BMA announced yesterday that 58% of junior doctors and medical students had voted against accepting the negotiated deal.

But Mr Hunt suggested that since a third of eligible voters had not participated, this meant only 40% of doctors were against it.

He told MPs that the contract will be introduced from October this year for more senior obstetrics trainees, then in November and December for foundation year one doctors taking up new posts, and foundation year two doctors on the same rotas as their current contract expires.

More specialties such as paediatrics, psychiatry, and pathology, as well as surgical trainees will transition in the same way to the new contract between February and April next year, with remaining trainees by October 2017.

Mr Hunt also promised to address concerns of junior doctors including the gender pay gap, by commissioning a report, and looking into the issue of shared parental leave.

Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott said she welcomed these actions, but added that 'at this time of general instability, I would urge the Government to reconsider imposing this contract at all'.

Readers' comments (39)

  • Well done Mr Hunt you've alienated a whole generation of the medical profession.At the same time bringing the morale in the health service to an all time low.WELL DONE THAT MAN!

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  • Such dictatorial attitude from a deaf and dumb health Minister calls for mass resignations. GPs will have the same treatment from him!

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  • The beatings will continue until moral improves

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  • Why is it that the Brexit vote is accepted by this goverment but the junior doctors contract vote is ignored and imposed?

    This will be the tipping point we have been heading for. Watch the number of Juniors who understandably choose to leave the profession, emigrate, locum or leave the NHS.

    This maybe the final speedy game plan to put an end to the NHS that Hunt has been planning for. No one, not even Hunt is that deluded to think these demoralised Junior doctors will accept imposition and carry on "as normal".

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  • Its really very simple- The profession-and in this respect we know better than politicians - based on current funding and manpower works out what is considered safe and sustainable work load for each aspect of the profession - we advise the government that thisis what we will do-If they dont agree- mass resignation of all the profession on agiven date in the future.Right now patients are extremely vunerable to substandard care because of lack of funding and ever increasing workload and red tape

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  • This man has lost the confidence of virtually all NHS staff that I speak to and needs to move on. I understand that it must a difficult job in times of austerity, but I am not aware of another minister who is so distrusted by his staff.

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  • Why! What for! to insult doctors profession when it is uncertain. We have voted out of the EU which does also demonstrate lack of faith in the current politicians.All NHS staff support the clinical professions Mr Hunt you will always be a potential patient but where will you be seen for treatment? Are you not affected in anyway with the single handed destruction of the NHS. Prescription given would be a large enema to get rid of all the B*****!

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  • Well, we have not united and we have not acted. Serves us right ! Doctors are spineless and Hunt knowes it. Me phinks locuming will continue untill I retire.

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  • If leaving the EU wasn't a big enough blow for the younger generation in the UK, now our young professional medics have yet another blow. Congratulation Mr Hunt (although at least he didn't go for PM!)

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  • One third did not vote so that means only 40% disagreed = vote not valid.

    Brexit: 28% didn't vote. That means only 37% of population want to leave EU = vote still valid.

    Democracy clearly allows for different rules for different situations (or where suits agenda)

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