BMA legal challenge over junior doctor contract 'bound to fail' says government

A legal claim by the BMA to have the junior doctors contract imposition ruled unlawful is 'misconceived' and 'bound to fail', government lawyers said as the first of three 48-hour strikes began.

An official response by government lawyers to the BMA rejected the union’s claim that health secretary Jeremy Hunt acted unlawfully by failing to give proper regard to an equality impact assessment (EIA) of the decision to impose the new contract.

The letter was published as tens of thousands of junior doctors prepared for their third walkout in the ongoing and bitter dispute.

GP trainees will join other junior doctors for their first 48-hour strike in the dispute.

Procedures cancelled

NHS England said that over 5,000 procedures had been cancelled ahead of the action by junior doctors, which will not affect urgent and emergency cover. Its national incident director Anne Rainsberry said the strike would put significantly more pressure on the service and the NHS was doing all it could to minimise the effect on patients.

The BMA announced its intention to seek a judicial review of the contract imposition and three 48-hour strikes last month. The union accused Jeremy Hunt of failing to properly carry out the legally required equalities impact assessment.

In the government’s response published Tuesday solicitor Oliver Gilman questioned whether legal action would be a proper use of taxpayers’ and union members’ funds.

Junior doctor contract imposed

Mr Gilman said the public sector equalities duty was a continuing duty and that Mr Hunt had given ‘significant consideration’ to the equalities implications of his decision. Mr Gilman added that the legal claim was ‘bound to fail’.

The letter said Mr Hunt would have sight of the EIA before approving the final draft of the new contract and will make his decision giving proper regard to the duty.

The BMA has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

BMA could ask for QOF suspension if coronavirus cases rise

BMA could ask for QOF suspension if coronavirus cases rise

Doctors’ leaders could push to suspend parts of the GP contract including the QOF...

Devon GPs use innovative alert system to flag unsafe workload

Devon GPs use innovative alert system to flag unsafe workload

Devon GPs have adopted a county-wide alert system to highlight when practices are...

Chancellor's departure 'must not derail pension tax trap solution'

Chancellor's departure 'must not derail pension tax trap solution'

The surprise departure of chancellor Sajid Javid less than a month before the government...

Longer appointments could help GPs spot blood cancer symptoms

Longer appointments could help GPs spot blood cancer symptoms

More than half of GPs say longer appointments would help them pick up hard-to-spot...

How to deal with an infatuated patient

How to deal with an infatuated patient

Increasing number of doctors have found themselves facing unwanted approaches from...

BAME medical students are being undermined by racism, warns BMA

BAME medical students are being undermined by racism, warns BMA

Black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) medical students are being undermined by...