Ripley and Heanor Column – Thursday 29th October

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who attended my fourth Amber Valley Jobs Fair last week. The event was a fantastic success with a number of people finding opportunities and successfully securing interviews! More than 500 people came to meet with local and national employers, recruiters and training providers and the event was a great success.

I’d also like to thank everyone who made it possible, including the employers, recruiters and training providers and everyone who encouraged their friends and family to come along!

Here in Amber Valley, unemployment has fallen by over 60% since 2010, however I am committed to seeing that fall even further. I would love to hear from anyone who attended and successfully finds a job or opportunity as a result of my Amber Valley Jobs Fair – so do get in touch!

After recent attention in the media, I want to focus my words on the current Junior Doctor Contract reform. I have recently met with a number of Junior Doctors and I would like to pay tribute to the fantastic NHS staff who work tirelessly to look after the people of Amber Valley.

However, I have been contacted in recent weeks by some concerned junior doctors and some constituents who are equally worried about their local healthcare provision.

This Government was elected on a promise to deliver a 7-day NHS and I am committed to seeing this happen. A 7-day NHS will improve patient safety, however it is only right that alongside this we look at the contracts that are in place to support staff. I’d like to highlight that reform of the junior doctor contract is not a cost-cutting exercise for the Government and the average pay of a junior doctor will not be cut. It is completely irresponsible of the BMA to claim otherwise as they have been doing.

The Health Secretary has given an absolute guarantee that this new contract will not impose longer hours for junior doctors. Under the new proposals, no junior doctor working full time will be expected to work on average more than 48 hours a week and there will be new limits on the number of nights and long shifts worked, as well as an absolute limit on how many hours are worked in any single week.

To support a truly 7-day NHS, the proposed contract will involve some increase in plain time working however, I am aware that the Health Secretary is happy to negotiate how far plain time on Saturdays. However this all relies on the BMA returning to the table to negotiate on behalf of its members. I want to see the BMA return to the table on behalf of Junior Doctors and I want to see my constituents’ minds put at rest. I support any steps to support increased healthcare provision and I want to see this matter resolved as soon as possible.