Quite right, too – and more or less exactly what This Writer predicted:
A strike by junior doctors has moved a step closer after their union angrily rejected Jeremy Hunt’s latest offer and accused him of “devaluing” their key role in the NHS.
The junior doctors committee of the British Medical Association denounced the health secretary’s offer, including an 11% rise in their basic pay, as nowhere near enough to assuage their fears over a new contract he plans to impose on them from next summer.
The further deterioration in relations between Hunt and the doctors’ union came as the BMA prepared to start balloting 30,000 junior medics in England about possible industrial action. Votes can be cast from Thursday and will be counted when the process ends on 18 November.
The union dismissed Hunt’s pledge that no junior doctor working within the current legal limits on their hours would have their pay cut compared with their current contract. It said future generations of junior doctors would be worse off.
Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative MP and former GP who chairs the health select committee, endorsed the union’s annoyance at Hunt’s tactics. In a tweet she said: “Briefing journalists before negotiating team, really, when trying to resolve a tense dispute?”
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