RCGP urges DH to drop threat to impose junior doctor contract

The RCGP has backed the BMA's call for the government to lift its threat to impose a contract on junior doctors if agreement cannot be reached through negotiation.

Talks between the BMA and NHS Employers officials working on behalf of the government began on Thursday through the conciliation service Acas.

The talks began after a U-turn from health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who initially rejected BMA calls for talks through the independent mediators.

Despite the change in stance from the health secretary, BMA leaders have made clear that planned strike action by junior doctors in December will go ahead unless the government lifts its threat to impose a new contract in the event that agreement cannot be reached.

Junior doctor contract

The RCGP used its intervention in the row to warn that removing the threat of imposition would help ensure negotiations took place on a level playing field.

A BMA spokeswoman told GPonline that talks had taken place yesterday and were ongoing, but could not give any update on progress.

Strikes planned by junior doctors are set to go ahead in December, with emergency care only on 1 December and full walkouts on 8 and 16 December.

A total of 98% of junior doctors voted in favour of full strike action in a BMA ballot, and the GPC has unanimously backed the move.

Mr Hunt has previously made clear that the government 'reserves the right' to impose contract changes if stalled talks block progress on manifesto commitments to develop a seven-day NHS.

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