Junior doctors and medical students across England have voted to reject the government’s proposed new contract1.
The details of the proposed new terms and conditions for junior doctors were outlined following Acas talks between the BMA and the government in May.
Junior doctors in England who are members of the BMA, and final and penultimate year medical students in England who are members of the BMA, then voted in a referendum on whether or not to accept the contract2. This followed a series of more than 130 roadshows that took place across England, where doctors and medical students were provided with details of the new contract.
With a turnout of 68 per cent – around 37,000 junior doctors and medical students – 42 per cent voted in favour of the contract, while 58 per cent voted against3.
Following the results of the referendum, Dr Johann Malawana has announced that he will stand down from his position as BMA junior doctor committee chair. A new chair will be elected in the coming weeks.
Commenting on the result of the referendum, Dr Malawana said:
“The result of the vote is clear, and the government must respect the informed decision junior doctors have made. Any new contract will affect a generation of doctors working for the NHS in England, so it is vital that it has the confidence of the profession.
“Given the result, both sides must look again at the proposals and there should be no transition to a new contract until further talks take place.
“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 and, in light of the result, I believe a new chair will be better placed to lead on this work.
“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.”
Notes to Editor:
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. We are an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.
2. In the referendum junior doctors were asked the following question ‘Do you accept the Terms and Conditions of Service for NHS Doctors and Dentists in Training 2016?'
3. Total number of people eligible to vote: 54,374, Total number of eligible votes cast: 36,953 (68% turnout), Yes votes: 15,494 (42%) , No votes: 21,459 (58%)