Junior doctors fail to change consultants contract

4 Jul 02
The British Medical Association has forced junior doctors to accept the new consultant contract following an emergency vote at the conference.

05 July 2002

The juniors objected to a clause in the contract that limits newly appointed consultants' private practice by giving the NHS exclusive use of up to 48 hours a week for the first seven years after their appointment.

The juniors had demanded that negotiations with the Department of Health be reopened and specialist registrars, the grade just below consultant, be given a vote in the consultants' referendum on the new contract.

However, this week's Annual Representative Meeting – the BMA's decision-making body – effectively quashed the juniors' campaign when it passed a motion endorsing the new contract. Specialist registrars have been sent details of the new contract but they will not be allowed to vote in the ballot.

BMA consultants' leader Peter Hawker said the proposed contract was 'not just an acceptable deal, but a damned good and commendable deal'.

He added that BMA negotiators had averted the government's threat to impose a seven-year ban preventing new consultants performing private work, and warned of dire consequences if the contract was rejected.

'This contract is a complex package, not a pick-and-mix. There is no room for major renegotiation or cherry-picking. It stands or falls as a package. If it falls, the prospect of any negotiation or even re-engagement with government until well beyond the next election is non-existent. This contract deal is too important to play with.'


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