Junior doctor England

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BMA agrees to restart contract talks

Johann Malawana

The BMA has agreed to return to negotiations with the Government on the junior doctors’ contract — and has called for a deal which could ‘break the impasse’.

The association immediately accepted the AoMRC's (Academy of Medical Royal Colleges) plea for a five-day break, which means the Government will pause the introduction of the contract while outstanding issues are discussed.

The Department of Health initially appeared to refuse the offer — suggesting that the contract must go ahead — but has now agreed to return to talks, which are planned to resume on Monday.

BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana said: ‘Junior doctors have said since the outset that we want to reach a negotiated agreement, and have repeatedly urged the government to re-enter talks.

‘As suggested by the academy, we are keen to restart talks with an open mind. It is critical to find a way forward on all the outstanding issues — which are more than just pay — and hope that a new offer is made that can break the impasse.’


'Genuine dialogue'

The proposal came in a letter from the AoMRC, sent on Thursday morning, which says the dispute had led to junior doctors considering alternative careers and urges a resumption in talks. It suggests the negotiations could be led by an independent chair.

AoMRC chair Professor Dame Sue Bailey said: ‘A five-day pause without ifs, buts or maybes and with both sides in the dispute publicly committing to a serious attempt to reach a resolution through genuine dialogue is obviously the only way out of this impasse.’

Junior doctors have felt forced to take industrial action, on five occasions, after health secretary Jeremy Hunt decided to impose his new contract in February.

A letter responding to the call from the AoMRC signed by Mr Hunt says: ‘In response to your call for a five-day negotiating period … we are willing to play our part.

'We will pause introduction of the new contract for five days fromn Monday should [JDC] agree to return to talks.'

The move was supported by the GMC and NHS Confederation as well the academy, which represents 22 medical royal colleges.

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