Junior Doctors: Industrial Action

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:36 pm on 5th September 2016.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health 6:36 pm, 5th September 2016

My hon. Friend is absolutely right on that. In May, the BMA leadership, with whom we were having a very open discussion, had satisfied themselves that on the concerns many junior doctors have about their working conditions, many of which I accept are wholly legitimate, we had done pretty much everything we could inside a contract and the work that needed to be done was on the extra-contractual things. I am talking about the way the training system works when people are being rotated to a different hospital every six months, the fact that some people were being sent to a different city from their partner and how bad that was for family life, and all sorts of other things that need to be sorted out. Ironically, since the introduction of the working time directive, things have got a lot worse for many people, although we do not want to go back to the excessive hours of before. Those were the things we were patiently working through, and the way that is done is through dialogue, not confrontation, which is why this action is such a step backwards.