Wednesday, 27 April 2016 05:08

STURGEON calls on UK Government to talk to junior doctors

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 Nicola Sturgeon has today called on the UK government to return to negotiations with the BMA over the contract for junior doctors in England following a request from the Presidents of the three Scottish based Royal Colleges for support after they raised concerns over spillover effects on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 The Presidents of three Royal Colleges wrote to the First Minister earlier this week asking for her support over concerns that the UK Government’s actions jeopardise a shared ambition for the future of the NHS by demotivating and alienating doctors who may then be lost from the medical system.
 In their letter the Presidents of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh state:
 “We very much welcome the commitment from your Government not to impose the junior contract in Scotland, we believe that imposition in England will have far reaching and unintended consequences for healthcare across all nations in the UK for the foreseeable future.
 “The priority of all colleges is high-quality patient care, achieved through the highest standards of education, training and assessment.  This largely depends on the retention of a world-class medical workforce.  The imposition of the contract in England risks jeopardising our shared ambition for the future of the NHS by undervaluing and demotivating a group of doctors already under significant pressure.  They represent the future and we risk alienating such able doctors from training or losing them to international health systems.”
 Nicola Sturgeon said:
 “The Scottish Government has been clear throughout that we will not impose the junior doctor contract in Scotland.
 “Having served as Health Secretary in Scotland I have worked closely with medical professionals for a number of years and I know that no doctor will have taken the decision to strike lightly.
 “The NHS in England, and relations between the UK Government and the NHS workforce are not a direct matter for me, but the longer this strike continues the more concerned I have become about a knock on effect on the profession across the whole of the UK.
 “I share the concerns of the Royal Colleges in Scotland, that this dispute is beginning to have a demotivating impact across the whole profession.
 “Imposing this contract is simply generating more bad feeling and risks more people leaving the profession or leaving the UK.  That could have long term consequences for the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – as well as England.
 “The BMA have made clear they will call the strike off and get back round the table if the UK Government stops the imposition of the contract.
 “I have written to the UK Government and I would urge them to step back, return to negotiations and demonstrate the support to junior doctors that I am sure everyone wants to see.”

View Nicola's letter - view letter