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Views And Reviews Personal view

Junior doctors can use the new contract to take back some control

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 27 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3413
  1. Stephen Bradley, GP, clinical research fellow
  1. bradley_stephen{at}

The new contract for junior doctors poses many challenges, but it’s possible to use its terms to achieve a safer and fairer NHS

Last year, like many junior doctors, I participated in strike action over changes to the contract in England. A few months later, after achieving my certificate of completion of training, I was appointed as the guardian of safe working hours—a new role that was born out of the contract negotiations.

After seven months in this post, I’ve come to recognise that the contract poses many opportunities and challenges, but that it’s possible to use its terms to achieve a safer and fairer NHS.

During last summer’s negotiations it became apparent that the grievances of juniors ran deep. However, the extraordinary unity of purpose raised expectations that, in the end, could not be met. Consequently, concessions made by the BMA—like the loss of …

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