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'Both sides need to focus more on patients'

Both the government and the British Medical Association (BMA) need to focus more on how the junior doctors dispute is affecting patients, a senior MP has warned.

Health Committee chairman Dr Sarah Wollaston MP told ITV News that both sides need to enter talks with an open mind instead of "brandishing" their red lines.

Cameron welcomes re-opening of junior doctors talks

Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the re-opening of negotiations over a new junior doctors contract - but said both sides need to focus on the remaining issues which have not been agreed.

It comes after health ministers offered to "pause" imposition of the contract and to reopen talks on all "outstanding issues" - including Saturday pay - if the BMA agreed to halt discussions of possible future strike action.

He urged health ministers and the BMA to focus "not on the 90 per cent of things which have been agreed, but focus very much on the 10 per cent of things that haven't been agreed".

In particular, he said, this included the issue of Saturday working.

Junior doctors, like others in the health service, work incredibly hard, and they do work weekends already.

But let's look at this issue of how we balance the 13.5 per cent pay rise with the other changes that are necessary to deliver an NHS that can work on more of a seven-day basis.

– David Cameron


Junior doctors: Saturday pay issue back on negotiating table

One of the key stumbling blocks in negotiations over new junior doctors contracts - overtime pay on Saturdays - will be back under discussion at new negotiations between the government and the British Medical Association (BMA).

All 'outstanding issues' will be discussed Credit: PA

The government had offered to "pause" imposition of the contract and to reopen talks on all "outstanding issues" - including Saturday pay - if the BMA agreed to halt discussions of possible future strike action.

The BMA's junior doctor chairman, Dr Johann Malawana, said a "negotiated agreement" had always been the preferred option - and insisted that pay was not the only issue at hand.

As suggested by the Academy [of Medical Royal Colleges], we are keen to restart talks with an open mind.

It is critical to find a way forward on all the outstanding issues - which are more than just pay - and hope that a new offer is made that can break the impasse.

– Dr Johann Malawana, BMA

'Cack-handed approach' to junior doctors dispute condemned

A Labour peer has welcomed news of a "pause" in a stand-off between the government and junior doctors - but condemned the government's "cack-handed" approach to tackling the dispute.

Credit: PA

It comes after Lord David Prior announced the government was willing to "pause" the imposition of new contracts - with a corresponding agreement from the British Medical Association (BMA) not to discuss further strike action - provided the BMA agreed to discuss "outstanding" issues such as Saturday pay.

Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath said the government's handling of the dispute had been "cack-handed", and said he believed the pause proposal should have been accepted without setting "new conditions".

"Obviously we hope the outcome of this will be successful and it will be resolved," he added.

He asked how junior doctors would be brought "back into the fold and given the support they so richly deserve" after being "disengaged from the service" by the ongoing disagreement.

Contracts pause 'relies on BMA agreeing to discuss outstanding issues'

The pause in the junior doctors' contracts imposition depends on the BMA agreeing to discuss outstanding issues only, such as Saturday pay, writes ITV News' Sam Haq:


Junior doctors: Government agrees to pause contract

The government has agreed to pause the introduction of the new contract on junior doctors for five days from Monday.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges had called for the pause in the process of imposing new contracts, alongside a five-day suspension of the threat of further strikes, enabling talks to resume with the Government.

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