Press Release: Hunt says ‘no imposition’ – so don’t

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[Thursday 29 September]

News logoKeep Our NHS Public is calling for NHS employers to mend some of the damage done by Jeremy Hunt’s behaviour, and to enter ‘normal’ contractual negotiations with the Junior Doctors Committee of the BMA to give safe and sustainable working conditions, after lawyers representing the Health Secretary yesterday argued in the High Court that he was not acting ‘to impose’ the new junior-doctor contract[1]. Despite the numerous occasions when he has publicly said that was always his intention[2] – and the judge agreed that his language had been ‘ambiguous’ and had misled the junior doctors[3].

The High Court decision was a clear moral victory for the junior doctors’ group – Justice for Health ( who brought the case against Hunt – even though they lost the legal argument. The only way the government could win was by denying that Hunt had meant he was imposing the contract, despite numerous occasions when he has said it in Parliament and to the media. This leaves local employers with options to negotiate the contract – since Hunt is not ‘seeking to impose’ it – hence agree one that will mean safe, sustainable and acceptable working conditions and prevent the undermining of the NHS which Hunt’s nationally ‘imposed’ contract would inevitably mean.

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, a retired consultant paediatrician and Co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said:

“It is clear that the Government is now denying imposition, and therefore it is an opportunity for NHS employers to mend some of the huge damage done by Hunt’s bully boy behaviour, and to enter ‘normal’ contractual negotiations with the Junior Doctors’ Committee of the BMA.

“All parties want a new contract, but the NHS needs contracts that are fair and sustainable, and backed by sufficient NHS staff and funding to enable their vital work to be safe and effective.”




[2] Video compilation:



Editors’ Notes


Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 38 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details:


KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

[email protected]

[email protected]


Facebook: Keep-Our-NHS-Public


[1] Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.

Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin

Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press

Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.

Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.

[2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models

[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.

Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]

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