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New consultant contract will exclude “opt-out” for weekend working, says government

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3883 (Published 17 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3883
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

The BMA has set itself up for a six week battle with the government over reforms to consultants’ contracts, after the health secretary said that a new contract would be imposed on the profession if negotiations over seven day working with the union were not fruitful.

Mark Porter, BMA council chair, called on Jeremy Hunt to “get real” over plans to introduce seven day services in the NHS. He said that, while doctors supported seven day hospital services, the government had repeatedly failed to respond to requests to outline how the plans would be staffed and funded.

In a report published on 16 July the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration said that the “opt-out” clause in the 2003 consultant contract, which enables a consultant to choose whether or not to provide non-emergency care at weekends, should be removed.1

The report was published on the same day that Hunt delivered a speech at the King’s Fund on his vision for the NHS over …

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