Despite months of negotiations and industrial action, the first group of junior doctors – trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology – will this week move onto the new junior doctor contract.
This is a watershed moment in the NHS, as doctors are forced to work under a contract they have rejected.
And it couldn’t come at a worse time, as a recent BMA study found that almost half of doctors are looking to move overseas as their morale is at an all-time low.
As the government ploughs ahead, ignoring the outstanding areas of concern with the contract, many trusts feel that have little choice but to rush the implementation of the new terms and conditions.But trusts do have a choice. The new contract will require major changes to be in place before the new contract can come into effect, which is why the BMA is calling on trusts to delay implementing the new contract and take the necessary time to get it right.
This contract needs to be right, not rushed.
It will affect a generation of doctors and have a huge impact on the quality of training and, with it, patient care.
Dr Mark Porter
BMA council chairman