Views And Reviews

Minister steps in to meet new deal targets

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 15 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1022
  1. L Beecham

    The minister for health, Mr Gerald Malone, is urging NHS trusts and health authorities to “step up the momentum” to meet the targets on junior doctors' hours. The next target date is 31 December, when no doctor should be contracted to work more than 72 hours on an on call rota in hard pressed posts. Such posts, Mr Malone says, are “no longer tolerable.”

    From 1 January 1995 many of the targets, especially those related to contracted hours, become part of junior doctors' terms and conditions of service, and trusts and authorities will have to ensure that the contractual obligations are met. The minister emphasises that this must not be a paper exercise. “Changes in contracts must genuinely reflect reductions in rostered hours and in hours of work or work intensity.” It was not acceptable “to achieve reductions at the expense of services to patients or to rely on unauthorised extra junior doctor posts of questionable educational value.”

    The minister wants junior doctors to be involved in collecting and validating data and for regional task forces to report to him if they meet any problems. He also wants to see evidence in the coming year that trusts and their purchasers are cooperating in delivering care through consultant based services. In the next 12 months the Audit Commission will be visiting trusts to examine reductions in hours and improvements in living conditions.

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