Thursday, 21 January 2010

Remedy Wins

This is the latest newsflash from Remedy UK.

Remedy is delighted to announce that our legal team has forced the government to delay their plans to exempt Deaneries from Employment Agency legislation.

This is of significant importance to any doctors caught up in the recruitment process, who would have been deprived of many employment rights by these proposals.

The legislation governing the conduct of Employment Agencies was passed by Parliament in order to give protection to vulnerable workers. A government consultation in early 2009 stated that they “… consider that [Deaneries] operate as employment agencies within the definition contained in the Act” and that they wished to introduce an exemption. Their reasons for doing so
were unclear.

The Act gives the power to introduce exemptions by regulation, subject to consultation, and a consultation took place in the summer. Both Remedy and the BMA opposed the change, arguing that it was not in the best interest of doctors. But the government announced in November 2009 that the respondents on the issue of Postgraduate Deaneries ‘mainly comprised a number of Deaneries who were in support of the proposal’. They also stated that they had been presented with “evidence that the potential consequences could be to seriously hinder the recruitment and training arrangements for juniordoctors with a subsequent impact on both costs and staffing for the NHS.”

Remedy believes that the consultation was not carried out properly. We had no idea what the “potential consequences” were, and we have had no opportunity to comment on them, or on the “evidence” which is referred to. Our lawyers sent a ‘Letter Before Action’ to Peter Mandelson on December11th, challenging the veracity of the consultation.

In their reply, the government solicitors agreed to re-consult on whether or not to introduce the exemption. They offered to consult specifically in areas around training and recruitment. No date has been set for this re-consultation.

The status quo has been maintained, and the proposed exemption has been delayed - possibly indefinitely. We are very grateful to our legal team at Blackstones and Leigh Day in securing this result.

This delivers a major blow against a concerted effort by government to limit the employment rights of doctors. We anticipate further attempts in the future and will do everything to resist them if they are unfair.Doctors should enjoy the same level of protection against abuse as other
parts of the workforce.

The government has also agreed to negotiate a ‘Code of Conduct’ for Deaneries, and Remedy has been asked to join these negotiations alongside the BMA. We have drafted our thoughts on this and are now seeking the views of our supporters.

Our views on the implications of Employment Agency legislation and the issues that we feel need to be addressed can be read on the Remedy website here .


Urgent Support for Doctors

  • Sick Doctors Trust (For those with dependency problems) 0870 444 5163
  • Doctors for Doctors 08459 200 169
  • Doctors Support line 0870 765 0001
  • NHS-Direct 08456 46 47
  • BMA Counselling Service 08459200169
  • Samaritans 08457 90 90 90
  • National Bullying Helpline 0845 22 55 787