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Acas update on junior doctors' talks

Friday 13 May 2016

Five days of intensive Acas talks on the junior doctors' dispute have been held between the Government and NHS Employers, with their team led by Sir David Dalton, and the BMA with their team led by Dr Johann Malawana. The talks have been chaired throughout by the Chairman of Acas, Sir Brendan Barber.

Sir Brendan Barber said:

"I was very grateful to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and the BMA leadership for accepting my invitation to talks following the positive initiative by the Medical Royal Colleges. Both parties have committed themselves over the whole of this week to highly intensive negotiations in an effort to resolve this long running dispute.

"The talks have been conducted in a constructive and positive atmosphere. In my judgement some real progress has been made to address outstanding issues.

"I reached the view, however, in the last 24 hours that a limited amount of additional time would be needed to give the process a chance of reaching a successful conclusion. I proposed to the Secretary of State, and to the BMA that the talks should be continued up until next Wednesday, and to allow this to happen, that each side should renew the commitments they made for this process to start. These were that the Government would suspend any action towards the implementation of the proposed new contract, and that the BMA would suspend any decision on further industrial action. I am grateful that both parties have agreed to this proposal.

"This is a strictly time limited extension and represents a final opportunity to find an agreement as the basis for the resolution of this difficult dispute. To give this the best possible chance of succeeding I have urged both parties to respect the confidentiality of the negotiations and to make no public comments on the talks and the issues under review and no hostile or negative comments about the other parties involved. I am grateful again that both parties have given that commitment.

"I understand that there will be considerable media interest in this issue but I hope that you will understand why my priority, and that of the parties, must be to maintain the confidentiality that has given this process a chance of finding a breakthrough.

"Both parties asked me to make this statement to report on what progress has been made and to indicate that they will not be making any additional statements."

Notes to editors

  1. Acas will remain in contact with the parties over this weekend and talks will recommence on Monday morning at 9am on Monday 16th May and are set to continue until Wednesday 18th May.
  2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. We aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  3. For media enquiries please contact Shumon Ali-Rahman, Senior Media and PR Manager, on 0207 210 3688 or For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.