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Anger at cancelled junior doctors’ meetings

Junior doctor’s chair invited to negotiations

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Relations between junior doctors and the government has plummeted further after NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, cancelled last night's open meeting to discuss its proposed contract imposition.

The fully-booked meeting, due to take place in London, was supposed to enable junior doctors to discuss the proposed changes to their contract, including negotiating pay levels, out-of-hours definitions, pay progression and levels of training and safeguards for safe working and learning. 

The British Medical Association has meanwhile confirmed that it will ballot junior doctors over potential industrial action.

Dr Johann Malawana, British Medical Association's junior doctor committee chair, said the cancellation had left hundreds of junior doctors “disappointed”.

“Our members and all junior doctors feel angry and let down by how they have been treated and have had enough of being treated in such an inappropriate way. The hundreds of junior doctors tonight wanted to make their views known and will be left feeling further disappointment at the way they have been treated.”

However, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said the open meeting had been postponed to enable further negotiations.

Mr Mortimer said: "The Secretary of State has today written to the new chair of the new BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee (JDC), Dr Johann Malawana, to invite him to a meeting to discuss the proposed changes to the junior doctors’ contract.

"Our preferred position has always been to negotiate with the BMA so we hope that today’s invitation will help to bring this closer. As we have made clear, there is a great deal still to discuss about how the profession is rewarded, including the increase in basic pay; the level of the new pay points; which hours would be unsocial; and how flexible pay premia would be deployed, including for doctors who do academic study and who change careers to a shortage specialty. 

"In view of this development, we feel it would be premature to hold our open meetings in which we intended to hear junior doctors’ views. We have postponed all of our meetings with immediate effect.”

A Department of Health spokesperson told OnMedica: "As we said at the weekend, we congratulate Johann Malawana on his appointment as the new Chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee. The Secretary of State has today invited Dr Malawana to discuss changes to the contract in advance of a formal proposal — because we want to improve patient safety in hospitals. We believe the current contract is unfair for doctors and patients, so we want to discuss a way forward with the BMA that maintains average earnings for junior doctors and doesn't cut the pay bill.”

A second meeting was due to take place today (September 29th) in Manchester, followed by further open meeting at various locations nationwide. 

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