Increasing access to NHS services out of hours is essential if we are to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and provide more community based care. However, the NHS is, at heart, a service built on the commitment and skill of its staff, and it is vital to negotiate changes in staff working arrangements in a constructive way. The proposed new Junior Doctor’s contract has been described as ‘unsafe and unfair’ by the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have stated that this could be ‘gravely damaging to the health and wellbeing of children’ and ‘adversely affect recruitment, retention and the morale’ of junior doctors. Here’s my letter and an article by Shadow health Minister Heidi Alexander:
”I believe that the Government’s current approach is completely the wrong way forward and that they should be working with the BMA and junior doctors to find a fair agreement that avoids the threat of industrial action.
Junior doctors are vital to the future of the NHS and it is clear that if we want to move toward a seven-day NHS and improve patient care we need to ensure that the staff we rely on are supported and valued. So it is very worrying indeed that the BMA have described the proposed contract as ‘unsafe and unfair’ and that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have stated that this could be ‘gravely damaging to the health and wellbeing of children’ and ‘adversely affect recruitment, retention and the morale’ of junior doctors.
I also fear that, rather than addressing the real strains that our NHS is currently facing, the Government are punishing staff for their own financial mismanagement of the NHS. We had an unnecessary and very expensive re-organisation in 2012, for example, and agency costs were rocketing at time when our own nurse training places were being cut.
I believe the Health Secretary should now withdraw the threat of imposing a new contract and re-engage in a meaningful dialogue with the BMA and NHS staff. The Government also need to accept that compromise is necessary to reach a fair settlement and come forward with a better deal that ensures patient safety is not put at risk. “
Obviously our Shadow Health Minister is leading on this and I have copied her recent article on it below
Recent reports suggest the government may be backing off under pressure - so let’s keep the pressure up