I am delighted to tell the House that we have successfully brought to an end the junior doctors dispute, following a review of the 2016 contract. The British Medical Association announced yesterday that junior doctors had overwhelmingly—by 82%—backed a four-year deal incorporating pay increases, and improved flexibility and conditions. The vote by BMA members means that the BMA and NHS employers will now move to collectively agree the amended junior doctor contract.
Throughout negotiations we have worked closely with the NHS and the BMA to agree an offer which recognises the dedication of our 39,000 junior doctors to their patients and our nation’s health.
The agreement also includes improved working conditions. The contract changes prioritise doctors’ physical and mental wellbeing through introducing new limits on working hours, more breaks and making it easier to get time off for important moments in their lives.
This is a “something for something” deal—guaranteed pay increases in return for contract reform which will help improve productivity, recruitment, retention and motivation. There will be around £90 million of investment into the contract including a new pay point for the most senior doctors in training, an allowance for those working less than full time to support flexible working and increased pay for those working the most weekends or whose shifts end in the early hours of the morning. Taken alongside an 8.2% four-year pay rise, this will give junior doctors and current medical students the support they fully deserve.
The NHS would be nothing without its dedicated workforce. For our junior doctors, as well as all our staff and volunteers, I want the NHS to be an incredible place to work. This deal marks another step in our long-term plan for the NHS, which will safeguard our health service and benefit us all for generations to come.