Junior doctors’ dispute: where are we now?

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 08 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4841
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers

Abi Rimmer looks at the remaining concerns in the dispute over the junior doctors’ contract and how recent legislative changes could affect future industrial action

What are the remaining sticking points in the contract dispute?

The BMA says that it wants the government to lift the imposition of the contract and restart meaningful talks. It says that junior doctors still have serious concerns with the contract, particularly the effects it will have on those working less than full time. The BMA is also concerned about the effects on junior doctors working the most weekends, typically in specialties where there is already a shortage of doctors, such as emergency medicine.

Weren’t these matters resolved when the BMA agreed a deal with the government?

In May Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service), which facilitated talks between the BMA and the government parties, said that an agreement on a new contract had been reached.1 At that time the BMA said that key improvements to the contract, following the talks, included “recognition of junior doctors’ work . . . across every day of the week” and “proper consideration of and provision for equality in the contract.”2

The BMA said that there had also been improvements …

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