TUSC councillor calls on trust to reject new junior doctors contract

TUSC councillor Kevin Bennett, photo Adam Hemsley

TUSC councillor Kevin Bennett, photo Adam Hemsley

A Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor in Warrington, Cheshire, is calling on his local NHS trust not to implement the new junior doctors’ contract.

Councillor Kevin Bennett, a member of the Socialist Party, has been to the fore in defending junior doctors in his area, visiting picket lines and building trade union solidarity. As part of this, he wrote an open letter to the chief executive and boards of Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The Tory government has threatened to financially punish trusts which do not implement the contract. But a concerted industrial and community campaign could push them back.

We publish an extract from Kevin’s letter below.

“I’m writing to you as a borough councillor and trade unionist who was on the doctors’ picket line.

None of the 152 foundation trust hospitals in England will be obliged to force their junior doctors to accept the ‘deal’ this government is threatening to impose, and can instead offer them better terms. Therefore, I am asking you to commit publicly to not implementing Jeremy Hunt’s contract.

More than half of the NHS bosses named on a letter advising the government to do “whatever necessary” to resolve the dispute with junior doctors have said they are against the imposition of the new contracts. Jeremy Hunt’s contract is iniquitous, unnecessary and potentially dangerous for patients and staff.

The Department of Health confirmed that foundation trusts, which are semi-independent of NHS control, could not be compelled to introduce the contract. “Foundation trusts are not mandated to bring in the new contract. They can negotiate locally.”

A growing number of medical organisations are warning that Hunt’s move will worsen the NHS’s shortage of medical staff.

You will already have had a letter from the junior doctors’ leader, Dr Johann Malawana, which shares all these concerns. Please let me know you will be addressing them by ruling out implementing Jeremy Hunt’s contract.”