The UK Government needs to talk to junior doctors

Nicola Sturgeon has today written to David Cameron to call on the UK Government to return to negotiations with the BMA over the contract for junior doctors in England. This follows 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 Nicola Sturgeon 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.

Read Nicola’s letter to David Cameron below.

Dear David

I am writing to raise my increasing concerns over the impact of your government’s decision to impose a contract on Junior Doctors in England.

Whilst the NHS is devolved and the junior doctors contract is not being imposed in Scotland there is considerable cross-over between medical schools, training of junior doctors and the development of professional skills by the Royal Colleges between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Royal Colleges based in Scotland do not solely represent Scottish based doctors and as a result have an interest in the current impasse between your government and junior doctors.

The Royal Colleges have raised their considerable concerns with me that the decision to impose the junior doctor contract puts at risk the retention of world-class medical workforce throughout the UK and risks their ambition for the future of the NHS by demotivating a part of the workforce which is already under severe pressure.

To alienate or drive away this group of doctors from the profession risks the skills and resources that would be available across the UK in the future and the on-going dispute and apparent refusal of your government to return to negotiations risks the reputation of the UK as an employer internationally.

I understand the BMA have offered to call off the strike and return to constructive negotiations if the imposition of the contract is lifted. Given my increasing concerns about the spill-over effect of the current impasse and the message it sends across the world over the support for the medical profession in the UK, I would urge you to reconsider the current position and to return to negotiations with the BMA.

Nicola Sturgeon

Read the Royal Colleges letter to Nicola Sturgeon here, and the response here.