The British government said on Thursday it plans to impose pay and working condition reforms for English doctors without the agreement of their trade union in a move to end disputes over strikes.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt made the announcement shortly after the second in a series of 24-hour strikes, the like of which had not been seen in Britain for 40 years. During the strikes, junior doctors, or doctors-in-training, provided only emergency care
Hunt said government accuses doctor’s union, the British Medical Association (BMA) of being unwilling to compromise.
"In such a situation, any government must do what is right for both patients and doctors," Hunt said in the parliament
"Junior doctors cannot and will not accept a contract that is bad for the future of patient care, the profession and the NHS as a whole, and we will consider all options open to us," said Johann Malawana the BMA's junior doctor committee chairman.
The new contract includes government’s new moves to deliver what it says will be consistent service seven days a week. Studies show that mortality rates are higher on weekends when staff is reduced.
Meanwhile, the new deal provides higher salary, but also hours for which the doctors are currently paid premium, would be considered as standard working hours.
The reforms apply only to the NHS in England. The regional governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have direct responsibility for their own health services.