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Junior doctors accuse education bosses of showing bias towards Government

The BMA junior doctors committee has reported growing complaints from members about the perceived pro-Government bias shown by Health Education England, which claims to be impartial in the contract dispute.

JDC chair Dr Johann Malawana wrote to HEE chief executive Professor Ian Cumming, following the education leader’s warning to hospital trusts that they could have funding for training removed if they deviated from the Government’s imposed contract.

In his letter to the trusts, Professor Cumming singled out junior doctors in criticising examples of negative conduct on social media during the dispute.

But Dr Malawana replied that this demonstrated HEE’s lack of impartiality.

He wrote: ‘Many of the juniors for whom you have a responsibility have been subject to considerable criticism, and it has been a pity that no visible defence of the profession was extended by HEE.

‘It is unfortunate that you seem to feel unwilling or unable to take a genuinely impartial role. If you cannot do so, however, we would prefer that you refrain from claiming a pretence of impartiality, and at least treat junior doctors with the respect of a more honest relationship.’

This comes as the terms for the independent review of junior doctor’s morale were released.

The review was announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt after he revealed he would impose his new contract, and will be led by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges chair Professor Dame Sue Bailey.

The terms of reference say it is ’unacceptable that junior doctors do not feel well supported by their employers and valued by the NHS’, and will make recommendations to improve junior doctors’ wellbeing and improve support.

However, it will not extend to matters of pay or terms and conditions of service.