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Thursday, April 8, 1999 Published at 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK


Junior doctors secure hours deal

The "New Deal" was supposed to limit junior doctors' hours

By BBC Scotland Health Correspondent Abeer Parkes

The government and junior doctors in Scotland have struck a deal on how to tackle the long running dispute over their working hours and conditions.

A support group is to be set up to visit every hospital trust in Scotland to advise on how to make the improvements.

The Health Minister Sam Galbraith has warned that he will "get tough" with any trust managers who don't comply with the group's recommendations.

The "New Deal" announced in 1991 was meant to reduce junior doctors working hours and improve security and conditions for a group which have been described as "the packhorses of the NHS".

Failure to implement measures

Although many trusts responded to the recommendations, an estimated 20% have still have failed to do so.

The government's consistent refusal to enforce the improvements resulted in junior doctors walking out of a meeting with their representatives last November.

The announcement of a settlement marks a significant breakthrough. An expert support group will assess how successfully each hospital trust has implemented the new deal and will advise on best practice.

It will focus on working hours, catering arrangements and accommodation. The health minister stresses he expects senior doctors and managers to co -operate and warns he will come down hard on any trust which fails to support the initiative.

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