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GP trainees set for new contract that will be binding on training practices

GP trainees are set for a new contract which will will ensure their terms and conditions are binding on employers and will bring them into line with their hospital counterparts.

Tthe BMA and NHS Employers agreed have agreed to start negotiations, which will mean that GP trainees will have a set UK-wide contract, as opposed to the ‘framework’ agreement, which is currently agreed between the GPC and the Committee of General Practice Education Directors and is not binding for employers.

The Department of Health must still give the go-ahead for the negotiations, but once it does, the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee will lead on the employee’s side. The GPC will be involved in the negotiations, both on behalf of training practices and trainees. Negotiations are likely to start in the Autumn,

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC GP trainees subcommittee, welcomed the move. He said: ‘Until now, there has been one contract for GP trainees and one contract for hospital doctors. 

‘We now hope to have shared terms and conditions between these two contracts while maintaining that the two settings will need slightly different work arrangements.

‘The current contracts, especially the hospital trainees’ contract, are out of date – they are more than ten years old. The GP trainees’ contract is being updated all the time and is more recent. The contracts have served a purpose but it is now time to bring them in line and make sure they can meet the training needs of tomorrow.’

Dr Ben Molyneux, chair of the JDC, said the committee had conducted a survey of doctors in training and found that there was not the right balance between training and service provision.

In his blog, he wrote: ‘There has to be the right balance of training and service, and something in the contract that mandates employers to put it right. This is where the work schedule we have proposed, which will set out the structure of each trainee’s week, will be so important.’

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: ‘Employers in the NHS believe that the current contract is no longer fit for purpose. A new contract will support them to provide high quality patient care and effective medical training within a safe working environment. NHS Employers is awaiting the decision of the four UK governments on a mandate to proceed to negotiations in the autumn.’