Medicopolitical Digest

Junior doctors conferenceJuniors want to be included in working time directiveHIV should not be barrier to medical schoolPublic health doctors look to the futureSecond wave of health action zones launchedBMA Notice

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 20 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1910
  1. Linda Beecham

    Junior doctors conference

    Minister promises action on hours deal

    “Regional task forces will continue and will be funded until we have met the new deal targets.” This was the promise that the health minister, Mr Alan Milburn, gave the BMA's junior doctors conference earlier this month.

    Irrespective of contracted hours no junior doctor should be expected to work for more than 56 hours a week. This target was set for 31 December 1996, but the minister admitted that at March 1998, almost 17% of junior posts did not comply with the new deal. Although the deal had brought significant reductions in hours of work and work intensity, he said that the non-compliance in a few places was unacceptable. “I expect local employers to progress,” Mr Milburn said.

    Improving standards of accommodation for doctors on call and out of hours catering were also parts of the deal, and the minister has already told human resource managers in the NHS that these were two of his key priorities. But he was not prepared to leave things to chance. “In future,” he said, “all NHS trusts will have their performance in this area properly monitored and the government will expect to see clear evidence of progress against proper tough targets.” Referring to the Junior Doctors Committee's charter on catering standards (9 May, p 1465), Mr Milburn told the conference that he has asked his officials to work with the JDC and NHS employers to reach some common agreement on what doctors can expect and what trusts can deliver.

    Extra doctors to be considered

    On education and training, the minister said that the government was committed to offering junior doctors the best possible programme of service experience and educational activities. It was “actively considering” the proposal from the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee (the Campbell committee) to increase the number of doctors in training by 1000. There would …

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