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Majority of junior doctors will vote down contract offer, online poll suggests

A majority of junior doctors could vote down the contract offer agreed between BMA and the Government, an online poll has suggested.

The poll of almost 900 respondents on a closed Facebook group for junior doctors shows that 56.5% intend to vote ‘no’ when the vote opens later this month.

Just 19% said they had decided to vote ‘yes’, while 24% said they were undecided.

It comes as NHS Employers published the terms and conditions of the new contract last week, after last-ditch negotiations resulted in a proposed contract to end the protracted dispute on 18 May.

The poll, launched by GP Dr Hamed Khan on 29 May, asked: ‘Now that we have (some) more details of T&Cs, what do you intend to do?’

Out of 891 respondents, 504 said they would vote no, while just 166 said they would vote yes.

Dr Khan, a GP in the emergency department of St George’s, London, and a clinical lecturer, told Pulse that he thought the risk the poll had been swayed by non-junior doctors gaining access to the Facebook group and voting was small.

But he also added that he and colleagues ‘feel that there may well be “silent majority” which will swing the vote in favour of accepting the contract’ when it comes to the BMA vote, and that it was also ‘important to note that a huge number of people are undecided.’

He said: ‘This is interesting. In my opinion nobody doubts the intentions or dedication of the BMA and the Junior Doctor Committee, who have clearly spared no effort in getting the best deal they can for doctors.’

He added: ‘From what I gather, most of the concerns that junior doctors have seem to be centred around the effectiveness of the “guardian” in ensuring that doctors hours ad rota patterns are safe and reasonable, the fact that there is no pay increase between ST3 and ST8, despite the increase in responsibility and defence fees, and the whole “fidelity” concept which seems to restrict on junior doctors in terms of where they can locum and the rates they can command.’

It comes as the Junior Doctor Committee of the BMA is meeting tomorrow, while BMA roadshows are also taking place from this week and until 17 June, when the vote of members opens. The vote closes on 1 July and a result is due by 6 July, the BMA’s website said.

Commenting on the Facebook poll, a BMA spokesperson said: ‘The BMA is currently engaging with junior doctors to explain the details of the proposed new contract.

‘Through a series of roadshows, web chats and other activities our aim is to ensure junior doctors fully understand the what a new contract would mean for them, so they can make an informed decision in the upcoming referendum.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the ‘historic’ settlement will pave the way for a seven-day NHS.

The question in full

Junior doctor contract poll: Now that we have (some) more details of T&Cs, what do you intend to do?’

Vote no: 56.5% (504)

Undecided: 19.5% (174)

Vote yes: 19% (166)

Waiting for BMA roadshows and Q&As before deciding: 5% (47)

Source: Facebook poll on the closed , as shared with Pulse