HSJ’s roundup of Wednesday’s must read stories

Making them an offer they will refuse

A new contract offer for junior doctors working in the NHS in England was made by the Department of Health and NHS Employers on Wednesday.

There are a number of areas where the new contract offer reveals more detail than the earlier proposals made by NHS Employers. This was a welcome development given the vacuum that has existed around exactly what is being proposed over recent months. But junior doctors and the BMA are unlikely to be impressed with the few concessions made by the government.

Sources close to the process say the government and NHS Employers have tried to head off concerns around pay and safeguards for hours worked, but for many junior doctors the changes will not go far enough.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has renewed calls for the BMA to negotiate over the proposals but remains determined to impose a new contract from August.

This threat and the lack of any substantial concessions will not dampen the anger of junior doctors. HSJ understands senior figures in the DH are resigned to the BMA membership voting to take industrial action over the coming weeks.

HSJ’s workforce correspondent Shaun Lintern examines the new offer and explains why the eleventh hour proposal is unlikely to stop a strike.

The midwives to NHS Improvement

Last month HSJ revealed that contract to design new sector regulator NHS Improvement was out to tender - and understood it to be worth more than £1m.

On Wednesday, Monitor confirmed that the contract to bring it and the NHS Trust Development Authority together had gone to consultancy KPMG.

As with the news in October, HSJ readers commenting on the story reacted angirly to the news. “Another very expensive hot-air balloon to float over the NHS,” said one; while another called the contract “huge waste of public money”.