BMA Believes it Faces Uphill Struggle to Convince Junior Doctors on New Deal

Leaders in the British Medical Association believe that it will be extremely difficult to convince junior doctors to accept the new contract that has been agreed with government ministers.

The two sides finally brokered a deal on Wednesday after talks with the conciliation service Acas.

Over 40,000 British Medical Association members will now vote on the proposals in June.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the new deal as a “historic agreement” and a “win-win” for the government and junior doctors.

While the British Medical Association has stated that it will strongly urge junior doctors to accept the terms in question, it seems that this may be a rather laborious process for the junior doctors’ union.

Social media posts from NHS employees have already indicating a degree of scepticism about the new deal, despite BMA junior doctor leader Dr Johann Malawana praising it publicly.

Malawana stated that “what has been agreed is a good deal for junior doctors and will ensure that they can continue to deliver high-quality care for patients.”

Yet there are already murmurings behind the scenes in the British Medical Association that it may be impossible for leaders to convince junior doctors to accept the contractual terms.

The strength of feeling among frontline individuals in the profession is such that any compromise may be rejected, and ultimately the deal brokered by the Two sides in the dispute may turn out to be futile.

Indeed, the unity of junior doctors against the contractual plans of the government has been hugely evident from the beginning of the dispute.

98% of British Medical Association members voted in favour of taking strike action back in autumn, and the overall tone of response to the issue has been one of solidarity and determination.

Several high-profile individuals who were critical of the government’s contractual plans have nonetheless come out in favour of this new agreement.

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health president Prof Neena Modi, who was one of the most vocal critics of the government’s decision to impose the contract, indicated that she wishes to see a “positive outcome” in the vote.

Stephen Dalton of the NHS Confederation is another who has recommended junior doctors to accept the package.

While Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has accepted some culpability for the length of the junior doctors’ dispute, he has nonetheless been subjected to criticism in the House of Commons.

Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander said the deal proved an agreement had been “possible all along”, and stated that “it’s sad that it took an all-out strike of junior doctors to get the government back to the table.”

With voting due to take place in June, it will be a intriguing to see how junior doctors receive the new agreement, and what consequences a ‘no’ vote, which seems to be the most likely outcome, will ultimately have on the future of the health service.

 

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