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A year ago, during contract negotiations we promised we would listen to you and fight for your interests; we promised to stand up for an NHS where those who care, would be cared for. An NHS which put the safety of its patients first.
Last year we hoped for a new contract, however we faced a Government that prepared to reduce safe-guards around working hours, to threaten high-quality training and to ignore the basic rights that other workers take for granted.
Whilst keeping our promise to you, we could not continue our contract talks and took the difficult decision to stall them last October. We would not sign up to a contract that knew the price of everything and the value of nothing.
We still have that hope for a fairer contract; a contract grounded in the realities of life as a junior doctor and that values junior doctors keeping them and their patients safe.
We’ve made this case to the DDRB, who must show their independence in the coming months. We make this case to the new government, who have spent the last eight weeks promising they care about the NHS. And we make this case for the public who know that with well-trained doctors you get well-treated patients.
Junior doctors are the bedrock of the NHS. We are a vital but under-valued part of the health-service – that must change. Junior doctors must be the advocates, innovators and future leaders that the health service needs.
As a profession we are stronger together. In December we joined together with fourteen other trainee organisations to call for a halt to the untested training reforms contained within the Shape of Training report. With your support, we secured a place on the Shape of Training steering group and will use it to fight any plan that reduces the quality of junior doctor training.
Our training must be rooted in an ethos of professional excellence but it won’t happen with a cut-price approach to doctors training, by removing pre-registration for new doctors or by cutting the length of training producing consultants in name only.
After we stalled our negotiations last year the last government asked the DDRB to make recommendations on our contract. This is their chance to show that they’ve listened to junior doctors. We’ve been clear that any changes to our contract must be discussed and debated not simply imposed.
But it isn't just our contract that is at stake - our aspirations for the future must not be forgotten in any new consultant contract. We are working with our consultant colleagues to achieve this.
In the coming months we must stand together as one profession. So we say to the new government: do not take the good will of juniors for granted, work with us not against us, and if you value the NHS - value junior doctors.
Kitty Mohan and Andrew Collier
Co-chairs, Junior Doctors Committee
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