04 October 2016
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a new policy that could serve to lock junior doctors into a highly contested contract that has led to several widespread strikes among clinical staff.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that the government’s imposition of new terms and conditions for junior doctors, which medical professionals say will lead to a deterioration in patient safety, will incite a mass exodus of trained physicians to countries that offer a better working life and higher pay.
The unpopularity of the contract thus threatens to scupper Hunt’s plans to dismiss migrant doctors after the UK leaves the EU. He told the Mail on Sunday this week that he would cut the number of foreign clinicians and replace them with those born and trained in the UK.
Around 55,000 NHS workers are EU citizens, and more than a quarter of doctors are from overseas.
In a move many are seeing as an attempt to lock medics into the unfair contracts, Hunt has announced he will stop British doctors from leaving the UK after their training by forcing junior doctors to pay hefty fines unless they complete at least four years working in the NHS.
Dr Mark Porter, the BMA’s council chair, said: “The Government must tackle the root causes of this workforce crisis and the reasons why so many UK-trained doctors are considering leaving the NHS, rather than forcing doctors to stay in the health service.
“Demotivated, burnt-out doctors who don’t want to be in their jobs will not be good for patients.”