JUNIOR doctors have made a last-ditch effort to get local NHS trusts not to implement widely despised new contracts.
Ministers wanted trusts to start rolling out the new contracts yesterday, with fifth-year obstetrics and gynaecology trainees shunted onto the new terms and conditions that were overwhelmingly rejected by British Medical Association members.
The BMA junior doctors committee has written to all English NHS trust chief executives pointing out that the new rules would represent a breach of contract unless some areas are dealt with, such as the guarantee of safe working hours and local equalities impact assessments.
Committee chair Dr Ellen McCourt also pointed out that the government has conceded it cannot force trusts to impose the contracts.
Dr McCourt said: “Today is a watershed moment for the NHS, as some junior doctors will be moved on to a contract which they have rejected.
“It couldn’t come at a worse time, as a recent BMA study found that almost half of junior doctors are looking to move overseas, given their morale is at an all-time low.
“Introducing a new contract requires major systemic change and will affect a generation of junior doctors. It is vital for the time to be taken to get it right, rather than rushed, for no other reason than to meet a political timeline.”
The BMA has also provided training medics a model letter asking their bosses to delay the introduction of the contract, as well as an email template for juniors to notify HR directors that they are “working under protest” if they do not wish to accept the 2016 terms and conditions.
The contract sparked the biggest-ever doctors’ strikes in NHS history, but further planned action was suspended because of concerns over patient health.