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Hunt gives BMA ‘cast-iron assurance’ trainee pay will not decrease

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has written a letter to BMA guaranteeing his junior doctor contract proposals will not decrease pay, including that of GP trainees.

According to the Department of Health, the letter was a plea to the BMA Junior Doctors Committee to return to the negotiations, despite Mr Hunt’s earlier threat to impose terms.

It comes after the BMA escalated the contract row two weeks ago by deciding it would ballot junior doctors on industrial action, after the union said that the Government had ’chosen to ride roughshod over the concerns of doctors with their threat of imposition’.

The DH said it had, via the letter, given ‘four cast-iron assurances’: that it was not cost-cutting exercise; it will improve patient safety; it will not impose longer hours for junior doctors; and that the DH ’will ensure that the great majority of junior doctors are at least as well paid as they would be now’.

On GP trainee pay, Mr Hunt repeated the promise he gave to RCGP last month that the GP training supplement would be replaced by another ‘pay premium’ so that GP trainees are not disadvantaged.

He wrote: ’I have already given my assurances that GP trainees will not be disadvantaged compared with the current system.

’I can also say that it is our intention that flexible pay premia would be used to support recruitment into shortage specialties such as accident and emergency medicine and general practice.

’We would also include pay protection for doctors who change to shortage specialities and to support agreed academic work.’

The letter, addressed to JDC chair Dr Johann Malawana, concluded: ’The best deal for junior doctors will be achieved by the BMA coming to the table to negotiate on their behalf and I urge you now to do this.’

It comes after Mr Hunt met Dr Malawana to discuss the contract proposals this week. 

Read the letter in full here



Readers' comments (43)

  • pay will not decrease ... as long as you are willing to work 24/7/365.

    there is always a catch with politicians - don't fall for it.

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  • This man speaks with forked tongue,do not trust him.

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  • Pretty sure it is a trojan horse - but well thought through tactic.

    Look for the interview in a couple of weeks where he says that he guaranteed that pay would not be decreased and the junior doctors are still striking.

    What needs to be sent back is an alternative wording that a trainee would be paid the higher of their salary of any new contract and the salary based on the old contract and banding. Then see if he agrees?

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  • This isn't the iron age for a reason, cast iron rusts...

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  • Junior doctors need more than a guarantee that they will be at least as well paid as they are now, for longer contractual hours and more flexibility I would expect increased pay

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  • Not dealing with a reliable and trust worthy partner. Track record speaks for itself. 200,000 people many of them for sure health workers want rid of this baffoon. This needs to happens as well.

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  • "the DH ’will ensure that the great majority of junior doctors are at least as well paid as they would be now’".

    Vast majority= NOT ALL= flipping bulls!t yet again. DO NOT TRUST THIS SNAKE.

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  • The challenge here is in following the legislation relevant to industrial disputes. Hunt and Malawana recently met, so this letter probably addresses the concerns expressed in that meeting. If this is the case, should the JDC not return to the negotiating table and continue with its ballot on industrial action, the ballot may fail any challenge in the courts. I predict a careful analysis by the JDC negotiating team of Hunt's 'assurances/guarantees' followed by a gradual return to negotiations. This will disappoint the more rabid section of the medical profession, but is the right thing to do. Both parties need to gradually unpeel the layers and build trust again. The JDC and NHSE need to negotiate a golden turd out of this situation. This is the best way forward for patients/the public/the profession. I await a flambeed reply from some of you.
    DOI: ex-JDC negotiator.

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  • Increasing basic pay = increasing pension contributions. Still planning on doing away with annual increments. Lies and spin from start to finish. I hope the juniors do strike, it's time we stood up to this bullying govt that just doesn't listen to front line NHS people.

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  • " I can give you a categorical
    assurance that I am not seeking to save any money from the junior doctors’
    paybill. Whilst I want to see an end to automatic annual increments (with pay
    rises instead based on moving through the stages of training and taking on more
    responsibility), these changes would be cost neutral, rather than cost saving. "

    What about those who, for one reason or another, do not progress up the ranks. All those staff grades service posts? They do a lot of the crap work they do. Who will do that when they decide to up sticks and go where the sun shines??

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