Labour Research November 2015


Doctors fight exploitation

The BMA doctors’ union is preparing to ballot junior doctors in England on industrial action in protest at health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to impose a new contract on them from August 2016.

Key among the disputed proposals is that junior doctors will have their working hours reclassified, meaning having to work anti-social hours for no extra pay. The BMA has estimated that junior doctors would face a 30% pay cut, and there have been reports of high numbers of doctors considering leaving the NHS to work abroad.

In response to junior doctors’ anger, Hunt indicated that he is willing to rethink his plan to reclassify working on Saturday between 7am and 10pm, but the BMA has said a lack of clarity remains.

BMA junior doctors’ committee chair Johann Malawana said the association was determined to fight for a fair and safe contract and accused the government of riding roughshod over the best interests of doctors, of patients and of the NHS as a whole.

Ballot papers will go out to doctors in training in England from 5 November. The ballot closes on 18 November.

Doctors in training in Scotland and Wales will not be balloted because their governments have stated they will not impose a new contract on trainees.