Mr Hunt unites the profession: BMA membership surges amid dispute over contracts

The Guardian 6th October reports: BMA membership surges amid dispute over contracts

About 80% of 5,000 new members who signed up between 26 September and 5 October are junior doctors, says union

There has been a huge surge in the number of junior doctors joining the British Medical Association (BMA) in the wake of the row over contracts, according to the union.

Between 26 September and 5 October, a total of 5,451 doctors joined the BMA, bringing the total membership to just less than 160,000. About 80% of the new members are junior doctors.

The rise in membership comes after the BMA said it would ballot its members over possible strike action. Negotiations – including a meeting with the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt – have broken down over conflict regarding working hours and pay.

The government has said it plans to impose the new contract on doctors, up to consultant level, next year.

The contract will reclassify doctors’ normal working week to include Saturdays and up to 10pm every night of the week except Sunday.

Medics argue they will lose out financially as evenings and Saturdays will be paid at the standard rate rather than a higher rate. They say this amounts to pay cuts of up to 30%.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA council, said of the rise in membership: “These new membership figures are an indication of the anger felt by not just junior doctors, but the profession as a whole…

… “Then there was no talk of 90-hour weeks, no talk of large numbers of junior doctors having their pay cut.

“There was instead a recognition by the Department of Health that now appears to have been lost: that better pay and work-life balance incentives were needed to ensure doctors were attracted to A&E and other gruelling specialities.”

Hunt, speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, said: “In politics you do get quite a lot of angry ex-minsters who opine with their views but, I have to say, in office Dan and I never disagreed on this issue, and we both recognised that we needed to find a way to make it easier for hospitals to roster to protect patients who are admitted at weekends.”


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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