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Junior doctors' contract is 'damaged goods' and should be discarded, says medic

Published 04/10/2016

Prod Modi said there has been a
Prod Modi said there has been a "total breakdown of trust" between the Government and medics

The contract at the centre of the bitter dispute between junior doctors and the Government should be torn up, a leading medic has said.

Neena Modi, professor of neonatal medicine and president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the staffing contract is "damaged goods".

In an editorial published in The British Medical Journal, Prof Modi said the deal should be "discarded and replaced with one drawn on a clean sheet".

Prod Modi said that there has been a "total breakdown of trust" between the Government and training medics.

And one way to repair that trust would be to discard the controversial contract, she wrote.

"The impasse, the frustration, and the anger of junior doctors driven to industrial action for the first time in many decades remain unresolved," she said.

"The total breakdown of trust between government and junior doctors represents a catastrophic failure of senior leadership at all levels."

Prof Modi added: "There is an overriding need to re-establish trust, restore morale, and respect young doctors as the professionals that they are.

"The contract, regardless of any further tweaks, will forever be damaged goods, and in this same spirit of building trust should be discarded and replaced with one drawn on a clean sheet."

The editorial comes following a legal row over the contract.

Last week, the campaign group Justice for Health - founded by five junior doctors - lost a High Court challenge against the Secretary of State over the new deal.

Justice for Health said that Jeremy Hunt had acted beyond the scope of his powers by compelling NHS employers to adopt the contract. But Mr Justice Green dismissed the claim.

The judge concluded that Mr Hunt had approved the contract, but had not compelled employers to adopt it.

The ongoing dispute saw the biggest protest of doctors in the history of the NHS.

Since January, junior doctors have staged a series of strikes protesting the new contract being brought in for all doctors below consultant level.

The British Medical Association had also planned a series of five-day strikes in the run-up to Christmas but called them off due to patient safety fears.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Following last week's judicial review ruling, we must now move on from this dispute to the crucial job of making sure patients get the same high standards of urgent and emergency care every day of the week, which involves more than the junior doctors' contract."

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