Medical colleges appeal for government to suspend junior doctors contract imposition

The BMA has said it will agree to a new proposal to suspend strike action if the government lifts its threat to impose a new contract on junior doctors.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges called for a five-day suspension of the contract imposition and further strike action so that talks could be resumed. 

The BMA junior doctors committee (JDC) is set to discuss possible prolonged or indefinite strike action or mass resignations at a meeting on Saturday.

The BMA has previously said it would suspend industrial action if the government lifts the imposition threat. JDC chairman Dr Johann Malawana said in response to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges plan: ‘No junior doctor ever wanted it to reach this point. We have said since day one that we wanted to reach a negotiated agreement, and have repeatedly urged the government to re-enter talks.

Junior doctor strikes

‘The government itself has admitted that there are serious, outstanding issues with the proposed contract. As such, the BMA would be prepared to agree to this proposal and temporarily suspend industrial action so that talks can resume with a mutually agreed facilitator, if the government is also prepared to suspend the threat of imposition.’

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges chairwoman Professor Dame Sue Bailey said: ‘A five-day pause without "ifs, buts or maybes" and with both sides in the dispute publicly committing to a serious attempt to reach a resolution through genuine dialogue is obviously the only way out of this impasse.’

The Academy, representing all 22 royal colleges and faculties said both sides in the dispute had an overriding duty to put patients first and ‘should remember that lives are potentially at risk’.

The colleges said they were unanimously calling on Jeremy Hunt and Dr Malawana to ‘take a deep breath, dial down the rhetoric and get back to the table for talks facilitated, perhaps, by a senior independent figure’.

DH has previously reject calls by the BMA to suspend the imposition in return for a suspension of industrial action. In a letter to the JDC in response to an eleventh hour appeal to avert last month’s full walkouts Mr Hunt said: ‘It is not now possible to change or delay the introduction of this contract without creating unacceptable disruption for the NHS.’

Photo: Neil Roberts

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