Junior Doctors' Contracts May 2016
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the Government's decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors.
I share your concerns about this new contract and the way the NHS is run under the Tory Government. Labour is the party of the NHS. We created it, we saved it and we will always fight for it. The large number of emails and letter I have had about this issue remind me of how strongly the people of Nottingham North feel about this issue.
It has been now over eight months since junior doctors started their protest against the imposition of the new contract and it recently escalated into the first all-out strike in NHS history. The way the Government have handled this has been absolutely disastrous and Jeremy Hunt should be held responsible. It has proved again and again that the Tory party cannot be trusted with the NHS and does not listen to majority of public who backs the junior doctors.
Whilst I agree with the need to reform the current contract, I do not think the need to do that is so urgent that it justifies imposition, and all the chaos that will bring. I fear imposition will further destroy morale and could lead to more industrial action which will be distressing for patients, doctors, and everyone else who works in or depends on the NHS.
Furthermore, it has now been suggested by researchers from Oxford University that Mr Hunt’s claim that more patients die in NHS hospitals at the weekend is based on flawed data and therefore it is not true. Mr Hunt used this claim as his main reason for imposing the new contract and I hope that in the light of the new evidence Mr Hunt and the Department of Health will rethink their position.
I welcome that after several month the British Medical Association and the Department of Health will re-enter fresh talks on outstanding issues in this dispute. I hope that the Government will listen to all concerts the BMA will raise and will find an agreement.
In October 2015 I supported an Opposition motion which urged the Government to guarantee that no junior doctor will have their pay cut as a result of a new contract; and called on the Government to put forward safe and fair proposals. Unfortunately the Government rejected the motion.
Junior doctors are dedicated, highly qualified people on whom we all depend. Even at this late stage, I hope the Health Secretary will go back and negotiate with them.
Thank you again for writing me. I will continue to press the Government on this extremely important issue.