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BMA judicial review is ‘bound to fail’, says Hunt

The BMA should withdraw its claim for judicial review over the junior doctor contract imposition because it is ‘bound to fail’, according to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The junior doctors committee said it would launch review proceedings after learning Mr Hunt did not carry out an equality impact assessment – which it must undertake before implementing a new policy – before deciding to impose the contract.

But in a response letter published on the Government’s website this afternoon, lawyers acting for Mr Hunt said the claim was ‘misconceived’ because he has not yet finalised the terms of the contract and can therefore still take into account an equality impact assessment.

The letter said that the draft final terms would be provided to the health secretary ‘shortly’, alongside the equaity impact assessment. It said he would then ’carefully consider those terms, alongside and in the light of the [assessment]’.

The lawyers wrote: ’The Secretary of State has an open mind regarding the final terms of the contract and, if he considers it appropriate, would amend the draft final terms in light of the content of the [equality impact assessment]. In the circumstances, the Secretary of State considers that your client’s claim is bound to fail.’

The letter concluded by urging the BMA to refrain from claiming for a review to save the money of its own members and taxpayers, but warned that the health secretary would resist any claim that was put forward.

It said: ’Accordingly, we hope that your client will refrain from instituting costly, and ultimately ineffectual, proceedings: costly both to the Claimant’s members and to the taxpayer. If, however, proceedings are issued, they will be resisted.’

It comes as the BMA is organising further strikes over the imposition this week.