Junior doctors force Hunt retreat

JUNIOR doctors in England have won an important victory against plans by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to impose new terms and conditions that would both cut pay and increase hours at work.

On Monday, the British Medical Association (BMA) successfully pushed Hunt into lifting his threat to impose the new contract on our junior doctors.

In response, the strike that was planned to start on Tuesday morning was called off at the eleventh hour.

But there are more battles to come as Hunt agreed to hold further talks with the BMA to come to a resolution.

The BMA is still fighting to end changes to a new employment contract that has been widely derided as “unrealistic” and “unsafe” because it will force doctors to work long hours that will leave them exhausted and liable to make poor judgements.

The statement on the BMA’s website from Acas, the Government mediation body, makes it clear that industrial action is on hold but not off the table.All parties are committed to reaching an agreement that improves safety for patients and doctors, and NHS Employers have therefore agreed to extend the timeframe for the BMA to commence any industrial action by four weeks to 13 January 2016 at 17:00, to allow negotiations to progress.

Within that timetable, the BMA agrees temporarily to suspend its proposed strike action and the Department of Health similarly agrees temporarily to suspend implementation of the contract without agreement.