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  1. Juniors to kick off contract protest week

    Thousands of doctors are due to take to the streets over the weekend as juniors step up pressure over the contract row.

    More than 3,000 people have already signed up to a protest in London tomorrow, staged ahead of Wednesday’s 24-hour strike.

    Protest activities were being stepped up as it became clear there was little chance of any agreement on Saturday working arrangements.

    Government trouble-shooter Sir David Dalton wrote to junior doctors yesterday setting out his argument that the British Medical Association should discuss weekend and evening pay.

    His comments echoed a BMA briefing, which stated it would not agree to any extension of plain time to Saturdays.

    In his letter Sir David states: “It is clear that what is needed is a commitment on both sides to continue to talk on the key remaining issues and to find the room for settlement.

    “Failure to do this will mean that no agreement can be reached.

    “This would be sad in any circumstances but particularly so when there has been so much progress in the last month.

    “It is really disheartening that at the end of last week the BMA declined an invitation to talk about the key outstanding issues (ie unsocial hours definition and associated payments), and have so far stated that they are unwilling to negotiate and reconsider these points at all.”

    [ Earlier report on this on news]

    [Dalton letter - pdf]

  2. Medical directors among top earners

    Three trust medical directors have been put on a pay scale greater than the Prime Minister, earning more than £142,500, in the last six months, it was revealed yesterday.

    Trusts have had to seek approval since last June to pay these rates to directors.

    Now a Freedom of Information request has shown there have been 17 applications from 15 trusts, according to the Health Service Journal.

    The applications represent directors moving above the £142,500 level for the first time.

    Applications were lodged on behalf of medical directors at the Surrey and Borders Partnership, the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust and the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.

    The largest salary request involved a £225,000 pay award to Mark Davies, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

    The journal quotes senior NHS figures warning of recruitment problems for board level vacancies.

    The new chief executive of NHS Improvement told a board meeting that recruiting to senior leadership positions was the “hardest part”.

  3. NHS failing to manage clinician supply - auditors

    The NHS needs a coordinated and proactive approach to managing the supply of clinical staff, an official report says today.

    Neither the creation of Health Education England nor government caps on agency fees are solving the problems of shortages of clinicians, according to the National Audit Office.

    The report says the cap on agency fees is unlikely to deal with the underlying causes of NHS need for temporary staff.

    The auditors say that overseas recruitment – linked to immigration controls - has stalled as have return to practice initiatives.

    The auditors criticise Health Education England, saying it should be “more proactive in addressing the variations in workforce pressures.”

    The report says that in 2014 the NHS ha a 5.9% staffing shortfall, equivalent to 50,000 clinical staff.

    NAO head Amyas Morse said: “Given the size of the NHS, workforce planning will never be an exact science, but we think it clearly could be better than it is. Equally, the way in which staff shortfalls are filled can be, and often is, unnecessarily costly and inefficient.

    “Since clinical staff are the NHS’s main resource and cost, these shortcomings are serious and the current arrangements do not achieve value for money.”

    The NHS Employers organisation said the findings were “helpful.”

    Chief executive Danny Mortimer said: “We need to move away from a model of short-term fixes through agency staff to investing in attracting the best talent to work in the NHS – both from within and outside of the EU.”

  4. Award for whistleblowing cardiologist

    A cardiologist who claimed he was sacked for whistleblowing has been awarded more than one million pounds in damages, it has been reported.

    Dr Raj Mattu was suspended for eight years from his post in Coventry and eventually dismissed.

    Dr Mattu has claimed he first raised concerns about overcrowding in the former Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry, in 1998. He was suspended in 2001.

    He eventually won a case of unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal, which found him to have been a whistle-blower but ultimately settled in his favour on technical grounds.

    The case has now been settled for some £1.22 million, the Daily Telegraph reported.

    Dr Mattu said: “The overriding feeling I and my wife have is relief that there is finally a full stop. For the first time in 15 years I can look forward and plan things for the future.”

    A spokesman for the hospital said: “While £1.22 million is a large amount, it is a significant reduction from the original claim and has finally resolved this matter.

    “We accept that it has been difficult for all involved and are relieved that this case has now been brought to an end.”


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