Jeremy Hunt has agreed to mediated talks with the BMA, according to a letter sent by him to Mark Porter, Chair of the BMA.
In the letter, he says he is: “disappointed by the BMA’s continued refusal to take up that offer [direct negotiations]”. However, Hunt acknowledges: “any talks are better than strikes”, and he is: “very happy for my officials and NHS employers to commence these talks using ACAS conciliation services.”
The BMA proposed talks via ACAS on the 19th November, the same day 98% of their members voted for strike action. Hunt initially rejected talks with ACAS but has come under increasing pressure to avoid a junior doctor walkout.
Many junior doctors are irritated that the announcement came via a third party on Twitter, with plenty pointing out that unless the BMA makes an official announcement the strike will still go ahead .However many more will be relieved that resolving the dispute seems a possibility for the first time in several months.
The full text of the letter can be read here.