According to a source on Twitter, David Cameron and George Osborne have both urged Jeremy Hunt to be “deeply muscular” in his dealings with the junior doctors – putting politics before people’s lives.
Junior doctors already consider Jeremy Hunt to be deeply muscular – or at least, to be representative of a deep muscle. As they explained with a banner behind Andrew Neil on TV:
That’s right – it seems that Mr Hunt has, by his behaviour, self-identified with his rhyming-slang nickname.
Jeremy Hunt has come under growing pressure to let independent arbitrators try to settle the junior doctors dispute before their series of strikes starts next month.
Senior NHS figures and leading members of the medical establishment want the health secretary to drop his insistence that the British Medical Association reopen talks with him before asking the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service (Acas) to mediate between the two sides.
Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, its medical director, and chief nursing director, Jane Cummings, are among a host of senior figures who have privately told Hunt that he must do whatever is needed to restart negotiations with the doctors’ union in a bid to prevent the strikes by NHS junior doctors in England planned for 1, 8 and 16 December.
The walkouts, which will disrupt non-urgent NHS services, are set to go ahead after 98% of the 28,305 junior doctors who took part in a BMA ballot backed strike action to further their campaign against a punitive new contract that Hunt is threatening to impose on them. In all, 27,741 doctors backed a strike, and only 564 opposed it.
In the wake of that result, the BMA wants Acas to intervene to try and broker a settlement of the increasingly bitter dispute over trainee doctors’ pay, hours and the planned seven-day NHS.
Hunt has so far refused to agree to them getting involved at this stage. He has insisted that the BMA has to first meet him for talks – something it has refused to do for several months in anger at him reserving his right to impose the revised terms and conditions the union says are unfair and unsafe. It wants him to drop that precondition so that meaningful discussions can start.
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: