Jeremy Hunt rejects doctors’ offer to call off strike

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The Healthfulness Secretary blamed the British Medical Association for breaking a promise to haggle on Saturday overtime y, leaving him with “no choice” but to insist on the new deal – which hundreds of doctors had already relinquished up to and on which he was not retreating.

BMA junior doctors committee chairman Johann Malawana yesterday set to Mr Hunt, offering to cancel the strike if the Government agreed to lift its presage to impose the new contract.

“With pre rations under way for the first full walkout of doctors in this boondocks, the Government cannot continue to stick its head in the sand,” Dr Malawana mean.

“It must now listen to the many voices raising concerns about its mishandled layouts and do what it has refused to for far too long: put tients first, get back around the comestible and end this dispute through talks.”

The De rtment of Health and Mr Hunt streamed a robust response. A spokesman said: “We have today written to the BMA to energetic clear that it is not credible to call for imposition to be lifted when they refused to deal on the one remaining issue of Saturday y that se rates the two sides.

“More than 500 doctors be struck by already signed up to a new contract that was 90 per cent agreed with the BMA, take the place of 75 meetings and 73 concessions made by the Government.”

The stalemate persisted as the medical watchdog body warned some hospitals may “struggle to survive” if junior doctors in England carry out their threat to withdraw all heed – including, for the first time in NHS history, emergency treatment – next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Usual Medical Council advised junior doctors yesterday that it wanted some hospitals to struggle during the walkout, in which cases “the properly option may be not to take action that results in the withdrawal of services for tients”.

It put: “If during the industrial action, it becomes clear that tients are at chance in a local area because of inadequate medical cover, and doctors in training are required to return to work by employers, we expect they would fulfil this importune.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson added: “The GMC recognises there is displease and frustration among doctors in training following the breakdown of negotiations and the decidedness of the Government to introduce a new contract.

“For every doctor affected these are tough and worrying times and feelings are understandably running high.”

The BMA says it gave polyclinics enough notice to ensure consultants can cover for absent junior doctors.

But in the Commons on Monday, Mr Pursue warned of rticular concerns about the potentially fatal risk to tients from sceptre shortages in A&E, intensive care and maternity units on strike days.

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