‘Trial period for doctors’ contract’ call

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt
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HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt could head off this week’s junior doctors’ strike by agreeing to a trial of their proposed new contract it has been claimed.

A cross-party group of MPs have urged Mr Hunt to agree to a trial of the contract rather than the wholesale imposition the Health Secretary has proposed.

A British Medical Association source suggested that agreement to such a move could be enough to see the latest strike action by junior doctors, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, called off.

In a letter to Mr Hunt, the MPs said: “You will be aware that medical leaders, royal colleges and patient groups have said the imposition or unilateral introduction of the contract is the wrong approach and risks permanent damage to the future of the medical workforce.

“If it remains your intention to introduce this new contract, we believe it should be piloted in a number of trusts/across a number of deaneries and for its impact on patients, staff and the ‘weekend effect’ to be independently evaluated.”

But the Government said it had 75 meetings with the BMA and three years of talks, and delaying reform further would mean not taking an important step in improving weekend care.