HCSA statement following Junior Doctor contract referendum

Few of us will ever forget the sight of seeing thousands of Junior Doctors forced into taking industrial action in 2016. They were united in opposition to a contract which not only comprehensively undervalued the work of an entire profession, but also enshrined unsafe and discriminatory working practices.

While a number of the changes secured by the BMA in their negotiations with the Government represent improvements on the current situation, the renegotiated contract as a whole still represents a poor deal for Junior Doctors. It endorses many of the provisions, which led to the 2016 contract being rejected and it locks the profession into further real terms pay decline for at least another four years.

HCSA has published its concerns in detail regarding the new contract.

Once again Junior Doctors have been badly let down. They deserve so much better than this.

Sadly, the outcome of this process, was contrived from the beginning by the way in which this process was designed by the leadership of the BMA and the Department for Health and Social Care. Involvement in the negotiations was restricted to the BMA only, the franchise was limited to BMA members only, and those eligible to vote had less than a weeks’ sight of the outcome of the negotiation before being asked to vote on it. The revised contract in its totality, which will now be endorsed by the JDC next month has still not been released.

As a result, the vast majority of Junior Doctors either chose not to participate in this process or were unable to do so.

More than three quarters of those entitled to vote by virtue of their BMA membership either voted against the deal or abstained. In total, fewer than 18% of all junior doctors in England and medical students in their final or penultimate year of medical school voted on the deal, with fewer than 14% in favour.

If you are one of the 86% who have not supported this deal, we are urging you to add your voice to the HCSA’s in calling for a better Junior Doctor contract, so that we can continue to fight on your behalf. Our aim is to achieve proposals which fully address the needs of Junior Doctors, and the serious problems they face every day at work. This can only be done by determined and effective representation at the bargaining table. Lobbying the BMA for change and commentaries on social media will produce little more than the same.

Click here to sign up to our campaign for a better contract