Grassroots GPs set out support for junior doctor colleagues

Grassroots GPs have written an open letter in support of junior doctors in dispute with the government.

Junior doctors march in London over proposed contract changes

Members of the GP Survival and Resilient GP groups told junior doctor colleagues that the long-term effects of the proposed ‘ill conceived’ contract would be ‘far more damaging’ than strike action.

The BMA began balloting junior doctors over strike action on Thursday after rejecting a last-minute offer from health secretary Jeremy Hunt to increase basic pay by 11%.

The proposed new contract would increase juniors’ standard hours before overtime, remove automatic pay progression and limit working hours.

Mr Hunt has pledged that GP trainees will not lose out under the reforms, despite plans to scrap the existing GP training supplement.

The BMA junior doctors committee accused the health secretary of state of 'megaphone diplomacy' after he released details of a contract that would increase basic pay by 11%, but is likely to be cost neutral overall for the government.

GP training supplement

The letter from grassroots GPs said they were ‘uncertain’ about reassurances over the GP training supplement without proper negotiations without preconditions.

The GPs said they wanted to express support for juniors ‘at this testing time’, and accused the government of refusing to negotiate on vital safeguards.

The government has insisted its 'door is open' to the BMA, but junior doctors' leaders have said they cannot resume negotiations unless ministers drop the threat of an imposed contract.

The contract changes, they said, would more affect those transferring to general practices from other specialities, those undertaking research, and those taking time out to have children.

‘This life, clinical and academic experience should be encouraged, not undervalued and underfunded,' they said. 

The letter added: ‘As GPs we will try to support you through the stress that this contract change is having on you all as individuals. We will support you whatever decision you make.’

Photo: iStock

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