The agreement, after many months of negotiation, also addresses wider issues about safe working conditions, recruitment, and the maintenance of high-quality care.
It comes after an extraordinary year. Junior doctors have been forced to take industrial action five times. On each occasion, they have looked to, and received, the strong support of consultants, SAS doctors, GPs and medical students. We have demonstrated beyond doubt that we are one profession.
Junior doctors across the country have inspired us with their passion and resilience in defending high-quality patient care. There have been many times when their right to a safe and fair contract has gone unheeded. But now, after talks in which all parties took a positive and constructive approach, we have the basis of a new contract.
The considerable progress made in recent week's means we now have:
− recognition of junior doctors’ work and contribution across every day of the week
− proper consideration of and provision for equality in the contract, including the chance for accelerated training for those who take time out for caring responsibilities
− improved flexible pay premia for specialties such as emergency medicine and psychiatry to address the recruitment and retention crisis in these areas
− more rigorous oversight of the new guardian role to ensure safe working.
The new contract will be published at the end of May. During June, it will be explained in a series of roadshows, and then put to a referendum of junior doctors. We will be publishing more details of the agreement as soon as possible on the BMA website.
We have come a very long way since the original proposals were made last July. None of the progress made in negotiations would have been possible without the consistent and inspiring support of all doctors. The support of our patients has also been critical. They knew we had common cause in protecting and improving the quality of patient care.
No-one would have chosen the situation we have had to face over the last 10 months. But in adversity we have seen doctor after doctor stand up with passion and integrity for the quality of patient care. The NHS faces some profoundly difficult challenges, but with such commitment from doctors, and a spirit of engagement from employers, we can make progress in other areas too.
Thank you. What we have achieved for the profession, we have achieved with the unity of support of the profession.