BMA annual meeting: Proposed junior contract is a good deal, Malawana says

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 23 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3536
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers

The chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee has said that the proposed new contract for junior doctors in England was a good deal.

Speaking at the BMA’s annual representatives meeting in Belfast on Thursday 23 June, Johann Malawana said that he recognised that juniors had different views on the contract but that he thought it was a good deal.

Junior doctors and final or penultimate year medical students in England will vote on whether to accept or reject the proposed new contract between 17 June and 1 July. Referring to the vote, Malawana said, “It’s now time to vote, and I urge all eligible junior doctors and medical students to do so.

“I know our members hold different views, but what I think is beyond argument is that we are only in a position to have anything to offer them because we stood up, together, for what we believe in. I think we have delivered a good deal despite unbelievable odds.”

Malawana said that junior doctors needed to maintain the unity they had developed during the fight for a better contract. “Our unity must be maintained, because there is so much else for which we must fight together,” he said.

“We have a government in denial over NHS funding. We cannot allow the government to continue hiding under a veil of bogus claims and risible targets. A government in denial is a threat to the health service.”

The government, he said, was also in denial over its “hopelessly vague, un-evidenced promise on seven day services” and over the funding of the NHS.

“The government should learn from the last year that problems which are ignored tend to get bigger, and they don’t come much bigger than the £22bn deficit faced by the health service,” Malawana said.

“On this issue and every other, we should speak with one voice, because that voice will be louder and impossible to ignore.”

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