Junior doctors reject new contract

Bed in a modern clinic corridor

Junior doctors have rejected the government's proposed new contract, which is designed to create a seven-day a week service.

British Medical Association members voted 58% to 42% against the contract, although the government is pushing ahead with new rotas.

The new rotas work by paying supplements depending on how many weekends a doctor works over the course of a year, rather than dividing the weekend between normal and unsocial hours.

Almost 37,000 of more than 54,000 doctors eligible voted in the ballot, giving a turnout of 68%.

The BMA said that there should be no transition to a new contract until further talks take place.

Dr Johann Malawana has also announced he will stand down from his position as BMA junior doctor committee chair. A new chair will be elected in the coming weeks.

Malawana said: “The result of the vote is clear, and the government must respect the informed decision junior doctors have made. Any new contract will affect a generation of doctors working for the NHS in England, so it is vital that it has the confidence of the profession.

“Having spoken to many junior doctors across the country in recent weeks it was clear that, while some felt the new contract represented an improved offer, others had reservations about what it would mean for their working lives, their patients and the future delivery of care in the NHS. There was also considerable anger and mistrust towards the government’s handling of this dispute."

Junior doctors in April went on a two-day strike to protest against the contract, following a dispute with health secretary Jeremy Hunt that began late last year.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive, NHS Employers, who was one of the government's chief negotiators in the talks, said: "I am profoundly disappointed the BMA has rejected the proposed new contract for junior doctors.

“It is imperative that patients will not be made to suffer any further impact as a result of the rejection of the contract.”