BMA calls upon Government to Agree to Go to ACAS to Help Settle Junior Doctors’ Dispute

The BMA is calling on the Government to agree to the arbitration service, ACAS, facilitating talks, or agreement on the terms and conditions of engagement to initiate talks, to help settle the junior doctors dispute over pay in England.

The Government consistently refuses offers to meet and puts up further obstacles to prevent any meaningful talks occurring, and so the Association has confirmed to ACAS our willingness to enter talks with the Government with support from the service. The Government also needs to agree to the process for it to go ahead and dropping its preconditions to talks.

The BMA Chair of Council, Professor Philip Banfield, said:
“In the face of a constant refusal from the Health Secretary to agree to further talks and put forward a credible offer which could bring an end to the dispute, we believe that working with ACAS provides the most realistic chance of a successful outcome to the negotiations. We have always said we will get round the table for talks with Mr Barclay any time; a credible offer from him could result in strike action being called off, but despite months of trying, he remains seemingly intransigent and inflexible to all our attempts to reach a settlement.

“The BMA has no preconditions to talks and has consistently sought to negotiate with the Government. Restoring junior doctors’ pay should not be an unworkable proposition for talks and through the services of ACAS, we’re offering the Government an opportunity to discuss how we get there. It takes both sides of a dispute to want to find a solution and we urge the Health Secretary to show the same willingness that we have and make himself available and open to talks facilitated by ACAS.”