BMA re-enters talks on junior doctor contract

9 May 16

Talks intended to end the dispute over a new contract for junior doctors are to resume today after the British Medical Association agreed to re-enter negotiations.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt agreed last week to restart talks with junior doctors over new terms as part a pause in implementation brokered by Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The BMA’s announced on Saturday that it would also now rejoin the talks clears the way for discussions to begin later.

Junior doctors took part in the first all-out strike in the history of the NHS last month, an escalation of industrial action following Hunt’s decision to impose the new contract.

The dispute, over changes to the junior doctor contract intended to improve care at evenings and weekends in the health service, has already seen doctors take action, although they have continued to provide emergency care.

The academy said that a five-day pause in implementation of the deal would allow talks to resume, and Hunt agreed to pause for five days from today.

Announcing the BMA’s decision, junior doctor committee chair Johann Malawana said the union would re-enter talks with the government on outstanding issues in this dispute, which include, but are not limited to, pay for unsocial hours, including Saturdays. The government wants to classify more of evenings and weekends as plain time as part of moves to a seven-day NHS.

“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,” Malawana said.

“The BMA will also call for any contract offer – agreed or not – to be put to a referendum of junior doctors, as is usual following a contract negotiation. We hope that with both parties back around the negotiating table, real progress can now be made to ending this dispute through talks.”

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