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Health committee chair calls on Government to reverse contract imposition

The chair of the House of Commons health committee, former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston, has called on the Government to withdraw plans to impose junior doctor contract changes.

The plea from the Conservative MP comes as the BMA announced it will ballot junior doctors on industrial action.

However, writing in a comment piece for the Telegraph, Dr Wollaston argued that this is a fight that ‘will help no one’.

In the piece, Dr Wollaston said that ’[t]he breakdown in negotiations risks driving even more junior doctors overseas and keeping them there, making safer weekend working even harder to achieve’.

She said this would exacerbate the current situation, where health secretary Jeremy Hunt already faces an ‘exodus’ of junior doctors moving overseas to practice after completing training in the UK. But she also had a warning to the BMA regarding industrial action.

She said: ’Ultimately, Mr Hunt may have the power to impose the new contract on junior doctors, but at what cost? Likewise, the BMA must be aware that industrial action would harm patients, and risk the doctors’ reputation.

’It would be better for both sides to step back, withdraw the contract and the strike threats, and instead agree to start a new process of negotiation: one that tackles the wider issues for juniors and is based on shared objectives to improve care.’

Citing a need to improve NHS safety on weekends, the Government’s imposed changes include reducing pay premiums for working unsocial hours and scrapping the supplement currently paid to GP trainees as a recruitment incentive. Despite this, NHS Employers has said that GP trainees’ pay will not be affected by the changes.

Readers' comments (7)

  • I for one would be happy for BMA to re-enter negotiations with a blank page.

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  • Vinci Ho

    As I said before , this is Mexican standoff. If that is what Agent Hunt(infected with virus FOV220,000) and its government wants to play , so be it . Older rebels always tend to hesitate for drastic measures but the young ones always want to fight as the future is essential to them. If Agent Hunt dares to pull the trigger , the butterfly effect will gaurantee him and his big boss to become the historical sinners of the century........

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  • the 'negioation' needs to be much more than 'where do you want me to stick it?'

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  • Good on you Sarah Wollaston.

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  • I have read it in The Telegraph and if her own daughter and son in law with 8 friends have left NHS despite her being a member of the governing party can we blame the other junior medics to stay put!

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  • These are young doctors who are racking up huge debts and when they start work they find themselves treated poorly and paid poorly especially when compared to their contempories who have gone to work in the city.

    The NHS risks reaping what it sows.

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  • Good
    You need to call also for the resignation of hunt

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