New contract for junior doctors to be imposed by Jeremy Hunt

It was announced by the Government on 11th February 2016 that the new changes to the junior doctors’ contract will be imposed despite the final offer from the Department of Health being rejected by the British Medical Association.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP in a statement to Parliament stated that the new contract would increase basic pay by 13.5%, and reduce doctor fatigue by: reducing maximum working hours from 91 to 72 hours in 1 week, reducing the number of consecutive night on calls from 7 to 4, and reducing the number of consecutive long days from 7 to 5.

Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of the Salford Royal who are leading negotiations with the Government, believes that these changes will bring substantial improvements to patient safety and to the wellbeing of doctors.

However opposition to the imposition of the new contracts came in the form of a joint statement by the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow:

“The surgical colleges have been clear throughout negotiations that a contract must not be imposed. It is therefore extremely regrettable that negotiations on the junior doctors’ contract have broken down and the Government is imposing a contract... Doctors in training are essential for the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care. The imposition of a contract takes us even further away from a goal to make the NHS the most attractive place in the world for doctors to work and risks permanent damage to the future of the medical workforce.”

The contract changes are due to come in effect on the 1st August 2016.