Fury as Jeremy Hunt imposes controversial new contract on junior doctors

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt will impose a controversial new contract on junior doctors who went on strike yesterday.

Mr Hunt will press ahead with the new contract despite fears from medics that it will lead to unsafe working hours and lower pay rates.

Picket lines were formed outside hospitals as junior doctors took 24 hours of strike action which ended at 8am today in a long-running dispute over the contract.

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Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Hunt said the government would impose the new contract after it failed to reach a negotiated agreement with the British Medical Association (BMA).

The move has sparked fears that doctors will leave the profession, leading to staffing shortages at NHS hospitals which are already struggling to cope with rising demand from patients.

Reacting to Mr Hunt’s decision Dr Johann Malawana, chairman of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, said: “The decision to impose a contract is a sign of total failure on the government’s part.

“Instead of working with the BMA to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of patients, junior doctors and the NHS as a whole the government has walked away, rejecting a fair and affordable offer put forward by the BMA.

“Instead it wants to impose a flawed contract on a generation of junior doctors who have lost all trust in the health secretary.”