Junior Doctors Win Judicial Review in Fight against Jeremy Hunt’s New Contract
The Junior Doctors are continuing their long fight against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s attempts to impose his new contract which they say is both unsafe and unsustainable. On July 21, Justice for Health (JFH), the campaign group set up by the Junior Doctors in March, made the following announcement to all their supporters:
“On Thursday 21st July our Case Management Conference was heard by Justice Green at the Royal Courts of Justice, London. He believes we have a meritorious case worthy of a Judicial Review in the wider public interest. With your ongoing support we will challenge the Secretary of State for Health in the High Court.
“Justice Green provided a sound reminder that inside the Courts all are equals. Your wealth, your status, your machismo and your political influence are irrelevant. The question will only ever be, Mr Hunt, in the eyes of the Law, were your actions right or wrong?
“Because of the thousands that have pledged and donated and the unbelievable support we have rallied together the Secretary of State will be called to account for his behaviour in this unprecedented dispute and in the imposition of an unsafe and untested contract on the Junior Doctors of England – the accountability that our patients and colleagues deserve.
“Please continue to show your support.”
In an update announcement on July 26, the JFH said that the massive public support for the Junior Doctors had “led to another round of astonishing, record-breaking judicial review fundraising. This clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling from NHS Staff and public” and that, thanks to “your donations, the immediate financial restrictions in taking the competition law challenge forward were lifted and we had the freedom to give this option full consideration. We want to have the best possible chance of winning our judicial review”.
The JFH are fighting their case on the basis that: “It is important to know that existing government legislation recognises every Trust as an individual employer and we would argue that the only lawful way in which they can all be asked to use the same contract is with the agreement of the employees or their representative unions. This would mean that in the NHS, the only lawful national contract is a mutually agreed one”. Confirmation of the court case is pending and is expected to be a two-day hearing in mid-September; an announcement will be made when the details are known.
The Junior Doctors concluded their statement by saying: “The Health Secretary has tried everything to avoid this case being heard, and we will do everything we can to hold him to account for his actions.”