Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Junior doctors’ row: The dispute explained

Ministers and junior doctors are locked in an increasingly fraught dispute in England. But what exactly is this row about?

What has caused the dispute?

Junior doctors’ leaders are objecting to the prospect of a new contract in England. The government has described the current arrangements as “outdated” and “unfair”, pointing out they were introduced in the 1990s. Ministers drew up plans to change the contract in 2012, but talks broke down in 2014.

They restarted at the end of last year at the conciliation service Acas but a deal could not be reached and so ministers announced in February they would be imposing the contract from this summer. There are two legal challenges to that imposition which are now being planned, one by the British Medical Association and another by campaign group Just Health.

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