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Trainees warn imposition of contract threatens future of UK healthcare

24 September 2015

Open letter to Secretary of State for Health

Members of the trainee committees that sit on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Trainee Doctors Group (ATDG) have written an open letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to express their concerns with proposals to impose a new employment contract on all doctors in training in England in 2016.

The signatories to the letter represent the vast majority of Royal Medical Colleges across the UK and their associated faculties, and they represent the voice for training and standards for doctors in training in the UK. The group states that the imposition of the contract presents an immediate risk to the provision of healthcare throughout the UK, and an ongoing threat to healthcare for generations to come.

Dr Gethin Pugh, Chair of the Academy Trainee Doctors Group, said “The doctors in training that we represent have significant concerns regarding the potential impact on patient care as a result of imposing these changes. At a time when we are already facing significant problems in the recruitment and retention of doctors in the UK, any contract must ensure it supports education and training as well as service provision across all specialties, to maintain safe and effective care for patients. We must value and support the doctors that deliver this care.The possible implications for the future sustainability of the NHS should not be underestimated.”

The letter informs the Secretary of State that the failure to provide safeguards in terms of hours and working conditions will detrimentally impact upon the safe treatment of patients.  The training of doctors would also be compromised and the contract would negatively impact the recruitment and retention of doctors in the UK, where there is already a shortfall.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists shares the concerns of ophthalmic registrars about the Government announcement that it plans to introduce a new contract for junior doctors in England from August 2016.  Read the support letter from RCOphth president, Carrie MacEwen.

See the OTG statement raising concerns about the impact of proposed junior doctor contracts

See the co-signed letter to Jeremy Hunt here.

Follow the conversation #juniorcontract  @RCOphth