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BMA and Government reopen junior doctor contract negotiations

BMA and Government officials have reopened negotiations of the junior doctor contract.

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, chair of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, said the BMA would remain in dispute over the unilateral introduction of the contract in 2016.

The Government had said in July 2016 that the new contract would be implemented ‘to end uncertainty’, despite a majority of doctors rejecting it.

Speaking to the BMA junior doctors conference on Saturday, Dr Wijesuriya said: ‘Over the coming year we will be addressing every area possible to make this a contract which can work for us, to improve our lives inside and outside the hospital or GP practice and to ensure the next generation of doctors face a better future.’

The BMA and NHS Employers said in a joint statement that they have agreed on a review of the 2016 Terms and Conditions of Service for Doctors and Dentists in Training.

The statement said: ‘The BMA remains in dispute over the introduction without agreement of the 2016 contract.

‘All parties however agree to enter into a formal collaborative bargaining process as equal partners via which they will jointly review the efficacy of the contract and negotiate changes to address the areas for improvement identified.

‘Following the conclusion of this process the package of negotiated changes will be put to consultation by BMA members, and if accepted the dispute will be ended and the contract collectively agreed.’

Dr Wijesuriya added: ‘The final agreed deal will then be put to our members in a referendum.

The 2016 contract reduced the maximum hours a doctor can be asked to work in any one week from 91 to 72, while also reducing the number of nights a doctor can be asked to work consecutively to four.