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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Junior doctors' contract negotiations

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For further information and background to the issues surrounding the junior doctors' contract, you will find documents, letters, speeches and news stories which will set out how the situation around the negotiations has developed on

In a statement on Sunday, Jeremy Hunt said:

"We are now going through an exhaustive process with every hospital in the country to try and understand which are the hospitals that might struggle to keep their A and E departments open if junior doctors withdraw their labour.

"We will do everything we can to keep every A and E department open but junior doctors are the backbone and that will depend on finding consultants who can step in. That is a huge logistical exercise which is now underway.

"Frankly it is the busiest time of the year for hospitals right now. The last thing I want to be doing is diverting precious management resource into trying to assess how they will keep their patients safe if junior doctors don't turn up for work. It is a very, very serious thing.

"This is a time when it's all hands on deck in the NHS. Doctors do have a right to strike, but I just urge all doctors to work really closely with us to make sure that whatever decision they take their patients aren't put at risk."

Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Chief Medical Officer added:

“As a doctor, I can understand the anger and frustration felt by many junior doctors at this time. In part, this dispute is a symptom of frustration and low morale that has been building for decades and the strain that a career in medicine can place on your work-life balance.  Junior doctors are the backbone of the NHS, working long and anti-social hours. Training now is very different from when I went through it.   It is vital that, as senior medical leaders, we ask ourselves whether we are doing everything we can to ensure our junior colleagues feel valued.

“But it is clear that the only way to resolve this is by negotiation, so I ask the BMA to suspend action while talks are ongoing. Industrial action will lead to patients suffering, and no doctor wants to see that happen.”

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