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RCGP reiterates support for junior doctors amid criticisms from other colleges

The RCGP has said that it ‘continues to support our junior doctors’, while distancing itself from a highly critical statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges that labelled the planned strikes as ’not appropriate’. 

Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair, became the latest college to distance itself from AoMRC’s criticisms of the junior doctor strikes, following the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR).

She called for the Government and the BMA’s junior doctors committee to return to the negotiating table. 

The AoMRC – which comprises 22 medical royal colleges, including the RCGP, the RCPCH and the RCR – had earlier said it was ’disappointed at the prospect of further sustained industrial action by junior doctors’, adding: ’We know there are genuine concerns about the contract and working arrangements, but we do not consider the proposed strikes are proportionate.

’Five days of strike action, particularly at such short notice, will cause real problems for patients, the service and the profession.’

An AoMRC spokesperson reportedly said that the RCPCH was the ‘only college’ that didn’t sign up to the statement. 

But Dr Baker confirmed the earlier Pulse report that the RCGP didn’t sign the statement. 

She said: ’We urge both sides in the dispute to get back to the negotiating table and address the issues that have arisen, so that we can reach a resolution. This is in the best interests of everyone.

’The RCGP has not signed up to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ statement on junior doctors. The College will continue to support our junior doctors at this distressing time.’

The RCR went further in its criticisms of the AoMRC’s stance, saying: ’We are unable to support the statement issued yesterday by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges because it does not advance a positive solution for patient care or the provision of safe and sustainable NHS services.  

‘We remain of the view that the dispute between junior doctors and the Government can only be resolved by resuming negotiations.’

Meanwhile, the president of the RCPCH said on Radio 4’s Today programme: ’Is it really proportionate to claim that by imposing the new contract we will suddenly manage to deliver seven-day services?’

She added: ’We have written to the health secretary to be magnanimous, to show leadership… we would like some maturity to be brought to this discussion.

’The only way to resolve the dispute is for both sides to get back to the negotiating table.’

The Guardian reported that a spokesman for the AoMRC said: ’We have 22 members. The only college that didn’t agree to the statement was the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The overwhelming majority signed up.’