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BMA to restart talks on junior doctor contract



The BMA will re-enter talks with the Government over the junior doctors contract and the issue of Saturday working pay premiums.

In a bid to avert further disruption from industrial action, the BMA announced on Saturday that they would go back to negotiations after the Government agreed to ‘pause’ its threatened imposition of the contract.

This followed a proposal put forward by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which called on both sides to compromise.

Chair of the BMA junior doctor committee Dr Johann Malawana said the current contract was discriminatory, and the issues went beyond the Government’s intention to remove unsociable hours payments for Saturday daytime working and weekday evenings.

Dr Malawana said: ‘The BMA has agreed to re-enter talks with the Government on outstanding issues in this dispute, which include, but are not limited to, unsocial hours.

‘Junior doctors’ concerns extend far beyond pay, and our principle in talks will be to deliver a fair contract that does not discriminate against women or any other group, one which addresses the recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS and which provides the basis for delivering a world-class health service.’

He also called for any contract, ‘agreed or not’, to be put to a vote by junior doctors rather than return to imposition which sparked the latest round of strikes.

In response to the AOMRC proposal last week, Lord Prior, the Government’s representative in the House of Lords, said Mr Hunt had written to the BMA to suggest a pause this week.

He said: ’[Mr Hunt will write to the BMA] later this morning explaining that we are willing to pause the introduction of the new contract for five days from Monday should the junior doctors’ committee agree to focus discussion on the outstanding contractual issues: namely, unsocial hours and Saturday pay.’

Jeremy Hunt’s department is currently facing a judicial review by the BMA after it was revealed the Government failed to carry out an equality impact assessment before imposing the contract.