Hunt imposes new junior doctors contract

The government will impose a new contract on junior doctors after negotiations with the BMA failed, Jeremy Hunt has announced.

In an statement in the House of Commons health secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs that despite government willingness to compromise on the last disputed area of Saturday pay, a 'negotiated solution is not realistically possible'.

The BMA, he said, was no longer willing to compromise.

Plain time would be extended to include 7am to 5pm Saturday. Those working one in four or more Saturdays would receive a 30% pay premium, which Mr Hunt said was a 'reduction compared to current rates, necessary to ensure hospitals can afford additional weekend rostering'.

Because the government does not want take-home pay to fall, he added, basic pay would rise 13.5%, with three-quarters of juniors seeing take home pay rise and none working within contracted hours having pay cut.

See Jeremy Hunt's statement in full

The announcement came after Sir David Dalton, the government’s lead negotiator, told Mr Hunt to ‘do whatever it deems necessary’ to end uncertainty. The Salford Foundation Trust chief executive said a negotiated settlement ‘no longer seems possible’.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens also called for an end to the uncertainty for trusts.

Tens of thousands of juniors, including thousands of GP trainees, walked out on strike for the second time yesterday

Labour shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander said Mr Hunt was wrong to claim NHS leaders backed imposition. She warned that his decision could to a ‘protracted period of industrial action which will be distressing for everyone: patients [and] doctors.’

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said the college was 'shocked and dismayed at the government’s decision to impose a contract on our dedicated and committed junior doctors'.

'Imposing a deal on junior doctors is wrong-headed, will inevitably damage morale across the NHS – and may damage patient care.

'We had hoped that ministers would ensure an agreement could be reached in a professional and amicable way, so that the two sides could bridge their differences in a constructive manner.'

She added: 'We would ask whether the government has carried out a structured and robust risk assessment, along with measures to evaluate the impact of their decision on patient safety. If it has, we would urge ministers to publish the full results forthwith.'

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