The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has performed a dramatic U-turn and is now requesting a meeting with BMA representatives to try and solve an acrimonious dispute with junior doctors
Yesterday, the BMA’s junior doctor committee voted unanimously to ballot their members for industrial action, which if agreed upon, would be the first time junior doctors had walked out of work since 1976.
With thousands of doctors set to protest meetings with NHS Employers (NHSE), Jeremy Hunt is now once again offering to meet with the BMA. Previously he has said that the doctors’ union is a ‘roadblock to reform that will save lives’, threatening to impose the contract with or without the support of doctors.
In the face of vociferous opposition from across the medical profession, NHS Employers have cancelled all engagement meetings arranged to bypass union officials and talk directly to junior doctors. NHSE Chief Executive Danny Mortimer apologised for the short notice in an email sent to junior doctors across the country, stating ‘Our preferred position has always been to negotiate with the BMA’.
A London protest planned before the announcement is still going ahead with junior doctors online calling the cancellation ‘cowardly’ and ‘outrageous’.