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Robison urges UK Government rethink on junior doctors

Published: 13 Nov 2015 15:58

Scotland’s Health Secretary meets medical students in Dundee

Scotland's Health Secretary, Shona Robison, has today urged UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to withdraw any possibility of imposing new contract arrangements on junior doctors in England.

Ms Robison said the UK Government should do everything it can to get back round the table with BMA England in the interests of staff and patients in the NHS.

The call comes as Ms Robison is due to meet with final year medical students today at the University of Dundee to discuss their future career choices as they progress through the training pathway.

Ahead of the meeting at Ninewells Medical School, Ms Robison reiterated her commitment that the Scottish Government would not impose any new contract arrangements in Scotland and will instead strive to secure any agreement concerning junior doctors pay and conditions through principled negotiations with the BMA.

Ms Robison said: "In Scotland we are determined to maintain our longstanding positive relationship with NHS staff and work in partnership with them to improve services and meet the challenges of the future.

"This is why, when it comes to the current junior doctor contract negotiations, we have made clear that we will not be seeking to impose any new arrangements in Scotland.

"It seems that an important first step in England would be for the Department of Health to make clear they will not impose the new contract on junior doctors - so they can get back to proper negotiations on that basis.

"I know that many young doctors have concerns about what this new contract will mean for them when they begin their new careers in the NHS next year. Indeed, I am meeting young doctors in NHS Tayside today and I am sure this will be part of our discussions.

"So I want to reiterate that in Scotland we will continue to service the current contract for junior doctors, and would move towards negotiations when the time is right in Scotland.

"At the heart of all of this will be our desire both to help junior doctors and ensure they make a full contribution to improving care in our NHS. I believe that by working with the BMA and professional bodies we can reach an agreement that meets both those aims."