Ruling against junior doctors is no victory for the government, warns BMA

A High Court ruling against junior doctors who accused Jeremy Hunt of abusing his power in the ongoing contract dispute 'should not be viewed as a win for the government', the BMA has warned.

Dr Ellen McCourt, chairwoman of the BMA junior doctor committee, said morale among junior doctors remained in tatters and urged the government to prioritise rebuilding trust with the profession.

She called on the government to take heed of junior doctors’ concerns on the ‘flawed’ contract due to be rolled out from next week as a first step towards this.

Judge Mr Justice Green ruled on Wednesday against junior doctors’ group Justice for Health, who argued in the High Court that the health secretary had abused his power and failed to clarify his actions in imposing the junior doctor contract.

Junior doctor contract

Dr McCourt said after the result: ‘Today’s result should not be viewed as a win for the government.

‘This ruling will do nothing to address the fact that morale amongst junior doctors is at an all-time low. Nor will it quell junior doctors’ concerns about the imminent introduction of a flawed contract they have rejected, or the deep sense of anger and mistrust that has built up towards the government over the last year.

‘Faced with a demotivated and frustrated workforce, the government must prioritise rebuilding the trust that has been lost with a generation of junior doctors – the GPs and hospital doctors of the future. As a first step towards this, it must address junior doctors’ continuing concerns with the contract before it comes into effect.

‘With the NHS facing unprecedented pressure, it is critical to focus on how to assure its long-term future.  Junior doctors are central to this.  If even a small number choose to vote with their feet, this future looks increasingly uncertain.’

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