Hunt is on Hope on, Hope off mode to clarify his stand at TV channels and radio stations. He blamed the BMA for the strike. The British Medical Association said the junior doctors strike is not only over Saturday payments, but over a number of critical issues like work-life balance, excessive working hours, improvements in training and crucially, workforce and funding implications for seven day services….reports Asian Lite
Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, rejects Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s claim that junior doctor are on strike over Saturday payments. The BMA said there are many issues concerned. In a letter to Hunt Dr Porter expains the reasons. The full text of the letter is below.
I write in response to your letter of 23 April. As you know, we have been pushing for further talks on the junior doctor contract ever since your announcement of imposition in February.
While we remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, this cannot take place with the threat of imposition hanging over our junior doctors’ heads. They have consistently made clear that this would be unacceptable, hence our clear offer to you last week.
I am now repeating this offer as a way to break the current impasse: if you agree to lift imposition while talks resume, we will immediately call off the industrial action planned for 26th and 27th April.
For the sake of clarity, we must, once again, reject your assertion that the only outstanding issue in dispute relates to Saturday pay. Your own letter recognises a number of critical issues concerning work-life balance, excessive working hours, improvements in training and crucially, workforce and funding implications for seven day services. The proposed contract is deficient in failing to address these issues properly, hence our concerns for patient care, the long-term future of the NHS and the recruitment and retention of doctors.
We can, I know, both agree on the pressing need to end this damaging dispute and get on with the work of putting in place a contract that ensures safe, high-quality patient care and addresses the many challenges faced by the NHS.
I hope that even at this stage we can find a way to step back from this dispute, from the imposition of a distrusted contract, and from the consequent industrial action.
Dr Mark Porter
Council chair, British Medical Association