The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has consistently called for a negotiated settlement to the dispute around the introduction of a new contract for junior doctors and welcomes any initiative to achieve this. We still hope that even at this late hour, the parties are able to find a way to reach an agreement without the need for industrial action which will inevitably disrupt services for patients.
From the outset of this dispute the Academy has acknowledged that in addition to specific concerns around the contract, there is a strong feeling from doctors in training that they are not valued in the NHS and the training environment often does not support junior doctors.
The Academy is pleased to see that this is recognised in the recent communications on the contract and wishes to restate that Medical Royal Colleges are very willing to play their part in taking forward longer term work to address these issues.
These will include proposals from the Academy Trainee Doctors Group on creating supportive environments for trainees – with a range of College initiatives supporting both trainees and trainers.
We would also hope that College guidance and expertise will feed into the decisions of the proposed “Guardian of Safe Working” at Trust level, on how funds accrued from financial penalties on Trusts for consistent breaches of working time regulations could be spent on improving the working conditions or education of doctors in training in their institution.
The Academy and Colleges have also made clear that they can contribute to the work of Sir David Dalton or any other party to both help resolve the dispute in the short term and build a lasting positive working and training environment for junior doctors, on whom the health service of the future will depend.