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Judicial review to examine impact of junior doctor contract on patient safety

NHS staff and patients are looking to initiate a judicial review on the impact of the new imposed junior doctors’ contract on ‘patient safety and stability of the NHS’.

This planned review is broader than the BMA’s review on the Government’s failure to carry out an equality impact assessment before imposing the new contract and will consider all Government decisions that led to the contract imposition.

Dr Ben White, one of the leaders of the #JustHealth campaign, said: ‘The imposition of the junior doctors’ contract affects all NHS service users. Staff know that the lack of workforce planning, lack of cost modelling, plus rota and staffing issues, create a perfect storm where patient safety will inevitably be compromised.

’We must challenge this contract in the High Court. A judicial review would consider all relevant factors and hold the Government accountable for decisions it has made. Ultimately, this is about public safety.’

According to the group, as part of the review the health secretary would have to provide evidence to justify his decisions in relation to the contract and ‘show that they are reasonable, viable and legal’.

They argue that ‘at present the “facts and figures” being bandied about by the health secretary have no basis in reality.’

The group need to crowdfund £25,000 to start the proceedings, with the aim of establishing a working case fund of around £250,000. They are looking for donations through Crowd Justice.

The BMA announced last month it is launching a judicial review over what is calls the ‘embarrassing’ revelation that the Government failed to carry out an equality impact assessment before imposing a new contract on junior doctors in England.

This week, it held the first in a series of three 48-hour strikes.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt last month announced that he was imposing a contract on junior doctors after talks broke down over the issue of evening and weekend pay, with the Government refusing to step back from its decision to remove ‘unsociable hours’ pay premiums from Saturdays and weekday evenings.