Hospital Dr News

BMA submits evidence on doctor contracts

The BMA has reiterated calls for any proposed changes to doctors’ contracts to be best for patients, fair for doctors and sustainable for the NHS.

This follows the BMA’s submission of evidence to the pay review body (DDRB) on consultant and junior doctor contracts.

Contract negotiations were referred to the DDRB in October 2014, after talks between the BMA and NHS Employers collapsed.

The BMA claimed the proposals lacked safeguards for patient safety and doctors’ welfare.

In its submission, the BMA reiterated its support for seven-day services, calling for urgent and emergency care to be the priority for investment, and for adequate safeguards around working hours and patient care.

The submission also calls for detailed evidence and modelling from the government on the changes it wants to introduce.

NHS Employers was incensed by the BMA’s withdrawal from the contract negotiations after 18 months.

In the aftermath, it threatened to close the existing consultant contract to new doctors and those changing jobs. It also warned of completely removing the Clinical Excellence Awards system.

However, the government asked the DDRB to make recommendations by summer 2015, when a new administration will be in force.

For consultants, the DDRB will look at reforming the contract to deliver seven day services without increasing funding.

For trainees, it will look at a ‘strengthened’ link between pay, patient-care quality and outcomes.

The BMA says changes to services must be clinically rather than politically driven. Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “As a priority, doctors want to deliver the best possible care for their patients. Doctors’ contracts should support the delivery of high quality care while also protecting against dangerous working patterns, which are bad for both patient safety and doctors’ wellbeing. Throughout negotiations the BMA emphasised the need for the contract to include safeguards for patients and doctors, and we have reiterated this in our evidence.

“The BMA has been clear in its support for better seven-day services, but the Government needs to be clear about what an expansion of services will look like and, crucially, how it can be safely staffed and resourced, without existing services being scaled back. Doctors already work around the clock, 24/7, so the existing contract is not a roadblock to seven-day services.”

“We hope that, in its submission, the Government has provided the detail, evidence and modelling on the changes they want to introduce, which it failed to produce throughout negotiations. This includes detail on what additional services they want to make available, how much they will cost to deliver, and guarantees on what support services need to be in place to provide them safety. Without this detail, we are being asked to sign up in the dark to changes without knowing how patient care and doctors’ working lives will be affected – something the BMA cannot do.”

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One Response to “BMA submits evidence on doctor contracts”

  1. Joe says:

    BMA demands that contracts are ‘best for patients, fair for doctors and sustainable for the NHS’. I however hope that they would themselves faithfully abide by these demands. Unfortunately the BMA does pick and choose what best fits their aims and objectives.
    In its Twenty-Third Report the DDRB commented: We have been struck by the large amount of adverse criticism of the scheme by consultants, whether or not they held awards. Confronted by this the the representatives of the CCSC on the Kendell working party categorically denied this stating that they wished to record that on the basis of the consultation exercise they conducted within the profession they would not accept the DDRB’s perception of widespread dissatisfaction with the scheme by the consultants.
    It subsequently emerged that the CCSC did not wish to upset the apple cart to succeed in suppressing the introduction of PRP.
    It is inconceivable that the guardians of the interests of the consultants, demanding fairness in the award scheme failed to admit what was widely recognised: the wide gender discrepancies, ethnic discrepancies and discrepancies among the specialties to name but a few.
    What guarantees do we have from the BMA that they would abide by their own demands. The Principal Consultant Grade needs to be suppressed. Would the BMA continue to deny dissatisfaction that the DDRB has raised this time regarding the disproportionate number of awards held by the ‘academic’ consultants (however they are defined compared to the service based consultants). Or would they demand the DOH to clearly define these two groups.
    BMA cannot preach what it refuses to practice

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