The eleventh hour announcement came following talks through the conciliation service Acas.
In a statement to MPs Jeremy Hunt said: 'After working through the weekend discussions led to a potential agreement early this afternoon between the BMA leadership and the government. This agreement would allow a time limited period during which negotiations could take place and during which the BMA agrees to suspend strike action and the government agrees not to proceed unilaterally with implementing a new contract.'
But Mr Hunt added that the government could not remove the threat of imopsition as it would give the BMA a veto over the manifesto commitment to a seven-day NHS.
Junior doctor strikes
Mr Hunt said the BMA's junior doctors executive committee was considering the offer, but as things stand the strike is still due to begin at midnight. The health secretary set out the contingencies in place to minimise harm to patients from the action.
The BMA said last week that strikes would go ahead unless the government dropped its threat to impose a new contract on junior doctors after 98% of junior doctors voted for strikes.
Strike action with emergency cover is set to take place on Tuesday 1 December, with full walkouts planned for 8 and 16 December.
GPonline reported earlier today that according to GPC leaders, GPs are 'overwhelmingly' backing action by junior doctor and GP trainee colleagues.