The British Medical Association (BMA) has rejected the Government’s final pay offer to junior doctors. The decision is likely to mean that a new pay contract will be imposed by Ministers.
The final offer was made by Sir David Dalton on behalf of the Government and in a letter to the BMA he wrote:
“As you will know from my previous letter, I have gone on record in saying that the service needs certainty on the contract by the middle of February at the very latest. The issues under discussion are not new, and it is absolutely vital that the service has resolution and clarity of these issues as soon as possible. I therefore believe that it is crucial that I have a clearer understanding of the endorsement you will give to this final offer if I am to be able to recommend to Government that it proceeds in the way that you have suggested”.
Johann Malawana, the chair of the BMA junior doctors’ committee said in a statement:
“With thousands of junior doctors attending more than 160 pickets and ‘meet the doctor’ events across England, today’s action is a resounding rejection of the Government’s threat to impose an unfair contract, in which junior doctors have no confidence.
We deeply regret the disruption caused to patients, but this is a fight for the long-term delivery of high-quality patient care, for junior doctors’ working lives and for ability of the NHS to rise to the enormous challenges facing it”.
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, denied allegations that the Government hadn’t been listening to the BMA. He said:
“There has been no rejection of any proposals and plans that would deal with this weekend effect that is of such concern to patients and the public”.