Junior doctors have voted against accepting a new contract proposed by the Government.
After a long-running dispute doctors were given the chance to have their say on an agreed deal for England via a referendum — with 58 per cent voting to reject the terms and conditions and 42 per cent accepting them.
Sixty-eight per cent of eligible junior doctors and medical students voted.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana called on the Government to respect the result of the vote and said there should be no transition to the new contract until further talks had taken place.
Dr Malawana said the vote was a ‘demonstration of just how appallingly frontline staff have been treated and undermined’ and accused the Government of overseeing a ‘fundamental breakdown in trust’.
He said: ‘Having spoken to many junior doctors across the country in recent weeks it was clear that, while some felt the new contract represented an improved offer, others had reservations about what it would mean for their working lives, their patients and the future delivery of care in the NHS.
'There was also considerable anger and mistrust towards the Government’s handling of this dispute.
‘These concerns need to be fully addressed before any new contract can come into effect.
‘There is much to do to in order to rebuild the trust that has been eroded over the last year. The Government must now do the right thing, accept the outcome of this vote and work constructively with the BMA to address junior doctors’ concerns with the new contract.’
Dr Malawana has announced his resignation as a result of the vote, describing his position as ‘untenable’. In his resignation letter Dr Malawana thanked BMA members and colleagues from across the NHS for supporting junior doctors.
He added: ‘I want to thank the public and our patients for the incredible support I, and my colleagues and friends, have received throughout this time and I hope you will continue to support junior doctors in the times ahead.’
The JDC met to discuss new leadership and the way forward and Dr Malawana urged swift action to ensure there is no ‘leadership vacuum’.
The referendum followed a dispute that saw doctors take to the picket lines on five occasions — raising concerns about the proposed deal’s effect on patient safety and fairness in the NHS.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would now consider what steps to take next.
He said: ‘It is extremely disappointing that junior doctors have voted against this contract, which was agreed with and endorsed by the leader of the BMA junior doctors committee and supported by senior NHS leaders.’
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