A group of junior doctors was in the studio audience of The Last Leg, on Channel 4, this week.
Asked if they would seek work in other countries rather than take Jeremy Hunt’s new contract, a significant majority said they would.
If hospitals have really found a loophole that allows them to ignore Hunt’s contract, then that is a far more acceptable alternative.
Hunt can face the consequences alone.
Hospitals may go it alone and refuse to impose the new contract on junior doctors proposed by the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on NHS trainee medics from August.
The Guardian has established that none of the 152 foundation trust hospitals in England will be obliged to force their junior doctors to accept the deal and can instead offer them better terms.
The disclosure of an opt-out for top hospitals threatens to derail the health secretary’s controversial push to impose new terms and conditions on all 45,000 junior doctors that has sparked their bitter and long-running dispute.
Labour claimed the loophole showed that Hunt’s plan was falling apart. “Jeremy Hunt’s decision to impose the junior doctors’ contract seems to be unravelling with every day that goes by,” said the shadow health secretary, Heidi Alexander.
“The fact that hospitals are trying to find ways around contract imposition underlines the extent to which the decision to impose a contract that nobody wants would destroy morale in the NHS.”
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