After months of passionate argument between the Government and the British Medical Association, it has been decided the the controversial new junior doctor contract will be imposed on medics, in its current state, whether they like it or not.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he had been left with no choice after the BMA refused to compromise with the Government over proposed longer working hours.
The Government intends that the new contract will relive the pressure placed on hospitals at the weekend, when the number of active staff falls, potentially putting lives at risk.
“It is disappointing that the contract negotiations have not reached an agreed solution,” commented Dr Johnny Marshall, director of policy at the NHS Confederation.
“An engaged clinical workforce is critical for the NHS to deliver the best care to patients. Following today’s announcement it is important that non-pay related concerns raised by junior doctors particularly around training and morale are addressed. We therefore welcome Professor Dame Sue Bailey and the Academy of Medical Royal College’s review into this area. We need to work closely with our clinical community to ensure we attract and retain the best staff in the NHS,” the director concluded.
The BMA had opted to reject the ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ offer proposed on Wednesday, which included a concession on Saturday pay.
The news emerged as junior doctors concluded a second 24-hour strike. The contract offered by the Government would have seen those working at least one in four Saturdays get extra pay for each one they work. But many believe that the offer is not generous enough, given the amount of formerly free time doctors will be sacrificing.