This decision puts the future of NHS healthcare in England at issue again – and Jeremy Hunt on the spot.
He has failed to address the concerns of junior doctors consistently since his contract was first proposed, and this vote is a further sign that the health service as a whole has no confidence in his leadership.
The next step should be negotiation: Why have junior doctors rejected the contract? What would they substitute for the parts they won’t accept? And what can be done, reasonably, to make it acceptable.
The trouble is, that was the logical next step when the contract was originally rejected, more or less a whole year ago.
Junior doctors and medical students in England have voted to reject the contract that has been offered to them by the government.
British Medical Association members voted 58% to 42% against accepting the deal.
BMA leaders had urged members to accept the terms, which were announced in May after talks with the government resumed following six strikes.
BMA junior doctor leader Johann Malawana immediately resigned.
In a letter to members, Dr Malawana said the NHS was lurching “headlong into a wider crisis” that was of the government’s making.
“I only hope that the next government realises that this vote is a demonstration of just how appalling frontline staff have been treated and undermined.”
The BMA still has a mandate to take strike action, but it will be up to a new junior doctor leader to decide what the next steps are.
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