Junior doctors row: Imposition of disputed contract paused to allow talks to resume

Junior doctors strike King George Hospital Barley Lane.

Junior doctors strike King George Hospital Barley Lane. - Credit: Archant

Junior doctors in Ilford have agreed to halt further strikes as negotiations with the government restart.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he is willing to suspend the introduction of the new junior doctors’ contract for five days from Monday in order to allow further talks.

The long-running dispute saw junior doctors withdraw emergency care, for the first time ever, in two one-day strikes at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, last week.

Consultants were called in to provide cover to affected departments, including A&E and intensive care.

Speaking outside the hospital, junior doctor Naomi Oliver, 27, said they had played their “last card.”

She said: “This is the first full walk-out ever.

“None of us wanted to be out here today, but we needed to take this step.

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“I feel like we have played our last card but we are always willing to go back to the table for negotiations.”

Negotiations broke down in February over the issue of extended working hours and Saturday pay, which the Health Secretary says must now be the focus of new discussions.