New NHS consultant contract rejected

Junior
doctor leaders have rejected a proposed new NHS contract for consultants,
because it will hinder their work-life balance.

The
framework of the consultant contract was unveiled in June this year, following
negotiations between the British Medical Association and the Department of
Health.

Under
the proposals, most consultants would be 20-25 per cent better off, working a
core week of four 10-hour sessions.

However,
the regular working week would include evenings and Saturday mornings, and for
the first seven years after qualification the NHS would also get exclusive use
of up to 48 hours of a consultant’s time.

A
ballot is due to be held later this year in which doctors will be asked whether
or not they back the proposals.

However
at a meeting yesterday, the executive sub-committee of the BMA’s Junior Doctors
Committee, voted to reject the framework.

It
expressed concern over the re-definition of the working day, excessive
management control, lack of recognition for part-time doctors and the
differential treatment of consultants during their first seven years of
practice.

Chairman
of the JDC, Dr Trevor Pickersgill, said: "I have not met a single doctor
who will vote in favour of this contract, which we believe will be a charter
for management abuse.

It
discriminates against part-timers, and allows trusts to force new consultants
to work unsocial hours.

"We
believe the implementation of this contract will be bad for doctors, bad for
the NHS and ultimately, bad for patients, with further demoralisation of the
workforce."

By Paul Nelson

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