23 NOV 2015

Junior Doctors

The Government is fully committed to an NHS that remains free at the point of use. The Government has not only ring fenced the Health budget, but committed a further £10bn to the NHS by 2020. Taxpayers money needs to be spent more wisely. Management costs have been stripped back to focus more on the training and development of 1,900 more midwives; 6,600 more nurses and 8,800 more doctors since we took office.

In May, the British people gave the Conservatives a mandate to deliver a truly 7-day a week NHS. We are working to ensure that we strike the fairest deal for staff whilst delivering the safest care for patients. There has been consensus between the government and the BMA that Junior Doctors' contracts need updating. The current framework encourages unsafe working periods and delivers unfair remuneration through the complex banding payments. The BMA should return to the negotiating table so an agreement can be reached that enshrines safe working hours; a fair salary structure and reflects a 7-day NHS. The Secretary of State for Health has written to the BMA to reassure them that there are no preconditions to negotiations. It is regrettable that Junior Doctors have voted for industrial action which will put patients at risk and see operations cancelled or delayed.

There has been much concern that Junior Doctors will be experiencing significant pay cuts. However, this is not the case. Most doctors will see their pay rise and work-life balance improve, with the number of working hours capped at 72 per week down from 91. The great majority of Junior Doctors will be paid at least as well as they are now and the Secretary of State has clearly indicated that he would be happy to look at implementing a protection structure to ensure no doctor loses out when they change jobs.

There is nothing that people and families depend on more than the NHS. I am absolutely committed to delivering a fairer, more efficient NHS for the future. This will ensure that the NHS remains a world class place to work and receive treatment.

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