Conciliation talks over junior doctor contract set to begin

Junior doctor contract talks through the mediation service Acas were set to begin at 10am on Thursday after a government U-turn.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote to BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter on 25 November urging the union to call off strikes by junior doctors planned for dates in December.

The health secretary said that 'any talks are better than strikes', explaining his decision to reverse an earlier refusal to meet the BMA for talks through Acas.

The BMA has made clear that despite the government accepting Acas mediation, strikes will go ahead as planned unless the government drops its intention to impose a contract if agreement cannot be reached via negotiation.

Junior doctor strikes

An overwhelming 98% of junior doctors backed strike action in a ballot earlier this month, and the BMA has announced plans for action on three dates - one day of emergency care only on 1 December, followed by two full walkouts on 8 December and 16 December from 8am to 5pm.

An Acas spokeswoman said: 'We are pleased that the parties involved in the junior doctors dispute have agreed to try Acas conciliation talks.'

The organisation confirmed that talks were scheduled to begin at 10am on Thursday.

Photo: iStock

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