Health Secretary Mr Jeremy Hunt Likely to Impose New Contract

The last 24 hours have seen a rapidly evolving situation regarding the new junior doctor contracts. On the 9th of February Sir David Dalton lead negotiator for NHSE and DH sent a final offer to the BMA. This offered only minor movement from the government on key issues listed below.

Unsocial hours

Sir David offers 07:00 – 21:00 weekdays and 07:00 – 17:00 on Saturdays. The Saturday would be paid at premium for those working ¼ weekends or more. How they feel this would mean most trainees working the weekend would be paid at a premium I do not know.

Non-resident on calls

An on call availability would be paid of 10% basic for ¼ rotas of 5% of basic for less frequent non-resident on calls. I frankly find this scandalous as we are in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis with ever more inexperienced SHO grade doctors frequently cross covering from another specialty.

Fines and pay for all work done

They offer 200% for hours exceeding a 72 hour week or over a 48 hour week averaged over 26 weeks. An equivalent would be levied as a fine to the guardian. This sounds fair enough to me but it’s the enforcement of such fines and levies that I worry about.


August 2016 with guardian roles also set for august 2016 jointly monitored by DH and the BMA.

This was rejected by the BMA mainly on the ground of Saturday working and non-resident on call supplements not being reasonable.

The BMA has suggested a counter offer (see below) in a cost neutral envelope to the health minister which has also been rejected.

With the BMA’s rejection of this final offer it would appear today that Mr Hunt has decided to proceed with the unilateral enforcement of the new contract as reported on the BBC news website this morning. I am awaiting a transcript of the health secretaries from the parliament website.

On a more positive note the strike action seems to have been largely supported by the general public with the broadsheets continuing to provide positive publicity for our cause. We have a great turn out from my hospital with 3 well-staffed pickets across the hospital grounds.  http://www.chesterstandard.co.uk/news/158446/chester-doctors-stage-second-strike-over-contracts.aspx

I shall continue to keep you updated as best I can but it is a rapidly evolving situation. Follow me on twitter for updates as they come.

Keep strong for the profession

James Shelton

BOTA BMA Observer