Urgent fundraising campaign by Justice for Health to take our case to court
We are now commencing an emergency second round of fundraising to raise the deposit for costs protection.
We are asking for emergency funding for costs protection for an independent legal action. We are confident that our action will show that the Secretary of State for Health (SoS) does not have power to impose this unplanned and dangerous contract that will affect patient wellbeing and safety, we are therefore issuing legal proceedings today.
The SoS has demanded a £30,000 “deposit” to cover costs in the unlikely event that the judge finds in his favour. We urgently need to raise this additional secured funding to allow us to proceed with our case.
This is an all-or-nothing target and without your support we cannot continue to seek justice for our NHS.
WHO WE ARE
We are Justice for Health, a group of NHS doctors, speaking out on behalf of the public, brought together by our passion for a safer and better NHS.
We prioritise patients’ safety above all else and believe in an NHS that is properly staffed and resourced, and maintains safety at the core of every decision taken.
The imposition of an unsafe junior doctors’ contract will endanger patient safety. This must be stopped and the government must be brought to account for the decisions they are taking with our health service.
OUR LEGAL ACTION
This is an independent legal action set up by Justice for Health, backed by you and patient safety advocates.
- We argue that the ‘decision to impose’ by the SoS was not lawful.
The structure of the NHS in England means the SoS cannot tell foundation trust hospitals, local councils or GP surgeries who to employ or on what terms, including junior doctors.
- We argue that he failed to undertake proper consultation procedures prior to announcing his imposition.
While he may be able to instruct other NHS trusts, he can only do so after undertaking a public consultation about the effect of his plans, which he has not done. The SoS claimed that he had the backing of 18 hospital trust chief executives, this claim has now unravelled as 12 of them have made clear that they disagree with imposition.
- We argue that the decision made to impose this unsafe contract was irrational and hasty.
The SoS made this decision before the terms and conditions of the contract were finalised, and before the Equality Impact Assessment was completed.
THIS IS SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT OF THE BMA LEGAL CHALLENGE
The BMA, which represents doctors, is contesting the contract based on equality grounds. We are speaking out for the public and our patients who will be affected by these enforced contract changes, which are unsafe and must not go ahead in their current form. The video at the bottom explains how the contract is unsafe.
WHY THIS MATTERS TO YOU
This is about the future of your health service and your country.
This imposed contract will endanger all lives in the NHS. Its immediate and lasting impact reaches further than doctors. We cannot stand by without a proper review of the impact on patient safety by such actions.
This contract is only the start of widespread changes to the health service that will affect all staff working in the NHS.
This additional £33,000 will fund both the costs protection and the fundraising administration fees. Any excess funds raised in our stretch target will be deployed towards ongoing legal costs. If we need to ask for further support we will explain why and what is needed. We will be transparent at all times.
Thank you for your support.
About the claimant
We are a group of doctors based in London who between us have over 30 years of experience working in the NHS. We are committed to our patients' well-being and making the NHS the best it can be. We want it to remain safe for generations to come.Dr Ben White is a 33 year old Medical Registrar. "I’ll be responsible for looking after you and your family if you arrive via A&E and are very unwell. I have a track record of campaigning for patients, the NHS and its staff. I’m so pleased to be a part of this legal action which gives us the opportunity to invest in a robust process to test the government's plans which I think stand to put patient and staff safety in jeopardy".Dr Francesca Silman works as a General Practice Registrar. "I am passionate about providing high quality care to my patients. The NHS has been vital in looking after my family - from cancer, dementia, childbirth and autoimmune disease, numerous members of my family have been well looked after through the world class service the NHS provides. We have to ensure that the NHS works for patients, and not for political will".Dr Marie McVeigh is specialising in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. "As a child I lived in a country without a national health service. I grew up seeing the effects of health inequality. From the age of 12 I wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to work in the NHS, where every patient gets the care they need. I believe fundamentally in the principle of equality. I want every patient I treat to be safe in our NHS and every colleague to be supported. I fear this contract is dangerous, it deeply undermines and destabilises the foundations of our NHS."Dr Nadia Masood works as an Anaesthetics Registrar. "I look after some of the sickest patients in the hospital, working hard to get them well again so they can go home to their families. I know how important that is, my dad successfully recovered from urgent open-heart surgery 10 years ago, and my mum has undergone life-saving cancer treatment more recently. Thanks to the NHS they are still with me today".Dr Amar Mashru is an A&E Doctor in South London. “I face the frontline consequences of understaffing and underfunding in the NHS every single day as our A&E department wait times get longer and our patients don’t get the care that they need when they need it. The government will never meet these consequences face to face as they increasingly choose to prioritise cost over quality. It is time to call them to account for the choices they make about how we can be looked after when we are brought through the doors of an Emergency Department. When you are at your sickest and most vulnerable my colleagues and I just want to be able to make you feel better.”
The government is imposing a dangerous contract in August 2016.We are challenging this imposition through an independent judicial process.If this contract is imposed, staff working conditions in the NHS could become unsafe and harmful to patients. THE NHS SHOULD- Work effectively for patients- Be safe for patients and those who care for them- Provide an excellent, world class serviceWHAT YOU CAN DO:- Donate!- Send this link to others to donate- Tweet with a photo using #JustHealth and tag @Justice4Health_ to say that you have donated and support this action
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We had our 2 days in court this week and our lawyers presented our case strongly. We all worked incredibly hard over many months to get our case heard.
The Judgement will be made public on Wednesday 28th September 2016.
We are truly amazed by the show of support from all of you.
Thank you to those of you that booked time off work and/or travelled from afar to come in person, and to those that showed support from afar and Twitter.Thank you to our support team for your fantastic help and keeping us going.
The hearing was tweeted live from our Twitter account by our amazing eagle-eared colleagues. Thanks to them, you can read the stream of live updates from the court over the 2-day hearing: the good, the bad and the ugly.
We really would not have had this hearing without your donations and most importantly your encouragement, which have kept us going throughout.
The judgement will be announced next Wednesday 28th September. Nadia, Mari, Ben, Amar and Fran
You've done it! £150,000 in 4 days!
We are so thrilled to write to you today confirming you have helped us reach our emergency fundraising target of £150,000.
Thank you so much for your donations, you have broken our previous records and smashed the August 16th deadline.
We are truly overwhelmed by your support!
We are now in a position where we can to proceed with preparing for our Judicial Review hearing, which will be in September (date to be confirmed by the courts).
As we explained last week, we must now choose between proceeding with our original grounds only or including an extended argument. Thanks to your support, there will be no financial barrier to making this decision and we can focus purely on the best legal advice we can get.
Once we have made our decision we will publish this on our website.
You can read the full ‘Statement of Facts & Grounds’ here: www.justiceforhealth.co.uk.
Thank you once again for your support, without which we could not have gotten this far.
We will continue to keep you updated every step of the way.
Marie, Ben, Amar, Nadia and Fran
Case Management Hearing - Come & Support us outside the Royal Courts of Justice
Case Management Hearing at Royal Courts of Justice, London
21st July July
(time subject to court confirmation)
On Thursday 21st July, we will offer the Government an opportunity to defend and clarify their position on the implementation of the new contract. If it is deemed that their actions warrant a full legal challenge, a date will be set for the Government to face a Judicial Review by Justice for Health at the Royal Courts
Since we began this challenge in February, there have been changes and progress in the contract crisis, following the first full walk out strikes in British history and further negotiations between the BMA and government. Junior doctors rejected the latest contract offer put to a referendum by the BMA in June. Mr Hunt once again took the decision to unilaterally 'introduce' the rejected contract, leaving junior doctors silenced and their concerns ignored.
We say the Secretary of State does not have the power to impose a contract on Junior Doctors. The Case Management Hearing will be an opportunity for a High Court Judge to decide whether the Government has been clear in accepting that unilateral imposition of the contract by the Secretary of State is unlawful.
Our case will argue on grounds of public law; challenging the clarity of language used by the Secretary of State and questioning his powers and the collusion between NHS organisations in facilitating the implementation of this unacceptable contract.
We hope that you, our fellow NHS supporters and campaigners will join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice this Thursday morning, and stand together in solidarity to protect the medical workforce of the NHS so that they continue to look after the patients they serve.
Staying the case
Justice for Health have today made the decision to temporarily suspend legal action. Our case will be 'on hold' whilst we await the new contract terms & conditions to be published. We are also waiting for the results of the referendum of junior doctors and the equality and safety assessments following this new offer.
We still believe that Mr Hunt acted unlawfully in making the decision to impose a contract, when he announced this on 11th February 2016.
Justice for Health is committed to a contract which is lawful, just and puts staff & patient safety first. We do not believe that a settlement which negatively impacts the wider NHS could ever be in the best interests of the British Public. If we find ourselves in this situation again after the contract referendum, we are ready to resume our legal action immediately.
We will continue to use every resource at our disposal to challenge decisions and actions we believe are harmful to patients and staff.
Statement from our lawyer, Saimo Chahal QC:
"We have today agreed to stay the Judicial Review proceedings to await the publication of the 3rd and latest contract (in as many months). This is to be issued on 31st May and then we await the outcome of the referendum on this contract and whether it is acceptable to junior doctors.
We will have a case management hearing in the 3rd week of July in the High Court to review how best to proceed. There is this pause as political events have intervened. However, this is not the end of the fight for justice by these brave doctors."
This weeks developments
On 18th May the independent mediator ACAS published a summary of the new junior doctors' contract offer after the close of an intense 10 days of private negotiations between the doctors' union the BMA and the Department of Health. We are pleased that both parties appear satisfied with the outcome thus far. Our team will comment on the full contract offer when it is published after we have conducted a full and thorough analysis.
Our Judicial Review
We are discussing with our lawyers and will update you shortly on our plans moving forwards. We have always fought for a contract that is a safe for patients and staff, sustainable for the future, mutually agreed and legal in its method of introduction. This has not changed and we will continue to seek this until we are satisfied we have achieved this objective.
Thank you for your support.
We have had a reply from the Health Secretary
We have received a response from Jeremy Hunt to our latest offer.
He still refuses to admit he had no legal power to impose a contract. It's now for the judge to decide if the Health Secretary had any legal power to make this decision. A decision that led the country into a period of uncertainty and distress, forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about participating in industrial action, forcing patients to forego scheduled appointments and even still not wavering in their overwhelming support of us.
Our hearing is scheduled to begin on the 8th June.
Please visit www.justiceforhealth.co.uk to see the latest reply from the Dept of Health legal team in full.
We at #JustHealth are waiting, along with our fellow junior doctors, to see the outcome of today's announcement after talks between the BMA and the Department of Health are completed. We will make our own comments after careful consideration for the implications of any new offer that is made.
We've written to the Health Secretary
This week we sent a letter to the SOS asking him to confirm his position and if necessary, to admit that he has no power to impose the contract.
We have sent him a series of questions to get further and better understanding of his position.
This is our last attempt to seek a clear statement from Mr Hunt, before we go to court. If he refuses we can ask the court to determine the issue, after we've attempted everything possible to reach a settlement.
You can read this letter in full by visiting our website www.justiceforhealth.co.uk
We have re-opened fundraising and once again welcome your donations.
Your support so far has been essential. Your donations have enabled us to cover the bulk of our legal fees and amazingly, in under 24 hours, you funded the deposit towards the Secretary of State’s (SoS) costs protection.
You can find a detailed step-by-step guide of our legal case and information on how your donations have been spent, by visiting our website:www.justiceforhealth.co.uk
We anticipate further costs, including the full amount of the SoS’s costs protection, in the unlikely event that we lose the case, and further legal avenues we are exploring, such as investigating the involvement of HEE and NHS Confederation. These actions would come at a further cost but it is critical our case is exhaustive and robust.
With your help, we will see Jeremy Hunt in court and stop the imposition of this dangerous contract. We will continue to fight this for our patients and all of our colleagues – and we can only do it with your help.
You may wish to continue to donate now or wait until we announce another fundraising milestone shortly.
We hugely appreciate your support,
JOIN OUR NEW MAILING LIST!
Thank you so much, once again, for you generosity and support so far.
At the moment we have raised all the funds we need and now have to wait for further updates from our legal team.
In the meantime, we would like you to join our mailing list so that we can keep you up to date when the case progresses and inform you if we have any further fundraising to do at a later stage!
More updates to come soon, many thanks again!
Marie, Ben, Nadia, Fran and Amar
- Justice for Health team
We have issued proceedings
Dear Valued Donor,
Thank you for your donation. Yet again your brilliant generosity allowed us to reach our target in less than a day. Our campaign has again featured on the front page of the Guardian newspaper today and in several other media articles, and was discussed today in parliament during urgent questions. Disappointingly the Health Secretary did not explain how he has the power to impose the unsafe doctors' contract, yet repeated that he would be imposing it nonetheless.
This afternoon we formally issued proceedings this afternoon in the High Court.
We will use £30,000 from your kind donations to pay the deposit demanded by the Health Secretary to cover his costs in the unlikely event that the judge finds in his favour during the hearing. The remaining donations are to be used for ongoing legal fees as part of this case and the fundraising admin fees.
Please visit our website for more information and to find out how to sign up for newsletters and updates on our case.
Ben, Nadia, Fran, Mari, Amar & the rest of the #JustHealth team.
We hit our first target!
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