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Statement on Junior Doctors' contract

20 May 2016

The Royal College of Surgeons of England congratulates both sides for having put aside their differences to come back round the table and hammer out an agreement. We await with keen interest the full details of the proposal and the response of BMA members. Concluding this dispute as soon as possible will ultimately be in the best interest of patients.

This dispute has shone a long overdue spotlight on workforce morale, support for trainees, quality of life issues, problems with training, and equality. These must now be a focus of further discussions and be dealt with.

It is therefore welcome that the agreement includes promises to improve training and rota design. We particularly support plans to offer accelerated training support for those who have taken time out of their training and mutual recognition of curricula. We will work with the GMC and other surgical royal colleges to support these initiatives and look at how we can maximise the opportunities in surgery. It would also be helpful for the Government and the BMA to set out in clearer detail how the agreed contract will support those in Less Than Full Time training.

The RCS together with the Royal College of Physicians has previously raised specific concerns about the Equality Impact Assessment published in April. While we await a new assessment, we welcome the indications that the agreed package will attempt to improve equality in the workplace including the extension of the Guardian role to oversee this.

There has been a more constructive tone and dialogue in the public domain during the most recent talks. We urge both sides to continue to debate the contract in this spirit while junior doctors carefully analyse the agreement.

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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