Jeremy Hunt to address parliament over junior doctors dispute

Junior doctors and medical students at a protest in Leeds.
Junior doctors and medical students at a protest in Leeds.

The health secretary will give a statement to parliament this afternoon following last-ditch talks to avert a strike by ten of thousands of junior doctors.

Jeremy Hunt is expected to speak in the House of Commons at 4.15pm ahead of the first of three planned strikes by medics.

Junior doctors voted to strike by a 98 per cent majority over changes to contracts which they say would cut pay and make them work unsafe hours.

Their union the British Medical Association (BMA) called a 24-hour strike from 8am on Tuesday involving all junior doctors except those who are on call to provide emergency cover.

Then two full strikes are planned from 8am-5pm on Tuesday, December 8, and from 8am-5pm Wednesday, December 16.

Talks between government officials and the BMA, hosted by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), resumed on Monday following three days of negotiations last week.

More than 28,000 junior doctors took part in a ballot for industrial action, a 76 per cent turnout.

Ninety-eight per cent voted for full strike action and more than 99 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.

Pickets are expected to be held at hospitals from 8am on Tuesday.