In light of the government's decision to unilaterally impose a new contract on doctors in training, the HCSA has said the step marks a "dangerous new low" in industrial relations with the NHS workforce.
Senior doctors’ union the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association warns today that the imposition of the junior doctors’ contract would be a “body blow” that will have “dire consequences” for future of industrial relations within the NHS.
Reports that the government is set to ignore overwhelming opposition among tens of thousands of doctors and impose the contract marked a “dangerous new low” in the relationship between employers and health professionals, said HCSA General Secretary Eddie Saville.
“Tens of thousands of senior doctors have watched with mounting concern as the government and Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt have tried to bulldoze through a seven-day services plan on the cheap despite widespread concern over safety and the day-to-day toll that this will take on health professionals and ultimately patient care,” he said.
“The latest step of imposing a new contract ignores unprecedented anger, safety fears, and overwhelming opposition among juniors and senior grades which will not go away.
“Imposition – something HCSA has always warned against - will have dire consequences for retention, morale and the future health of our NHS workforce.
“It represents a body blow for industrial relations across the NHS that have plunged to a dangerous new low as a result of the Secretary of State’s confrontational approach."
HCSA President Professor John Schofield said: “It is high time that the government listened to doctors’ concerns. This serious ongoing issue demonstrates the lack of respect of this government for medical practitioners in general.
“Imposition of this contract on juniors will not solve the problems that come with a flawed attempt to deliver austerity seven-day services on a ‘cost neutral’ basis.
“It will also steel consultants and other senior specialist grades, many of whom are already voting with their feet or eyeing an early exit from the profession, in their dealings with government over the impending new consultant contract.
“The junior contract was a litmus test of the government’s commitment to delivering safe seven-day services – something that will require the collaboration, resources and goodwill of sufficient staff to succeed. It appears the government has failed that test.
“We fear that senior doctors, who are the government’s next target, will increasingly vote with their feet alongside their juniors rather than wait around to be used as target practice by politicians in whom they have now totally lost faith.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
For press requests contact Eddie Saville on 07714 748 528.
Download the HCSA position on A Fair Deal for Doctors in Training at /media/42181/HCSA-A4-flyer-junior-doctors.pdf
About the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association
The Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association is the only professional association and trade union dedicated solely to hospital doctors. Formed in 1948, it represents and advises hospital consultants, staff and associate specialist doctors and specialist/specialty trainee registrars in the UK, both in the NHS and Private Sectors.