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‘Final opportunity’ to reach settlement as junior doctor talks extended



Junior doctor contract talks will carry on for three more days, as the parties have failed to reach a settlement this week.

Following all-out strikes by junior doctors last month, including withdrawal of emergency care, health secretary Jeremy Hunt paused the imposition of the contract to hold an extra five days of negotiations.

But a statement from Acas, the employer advice organisation leading the talks between NHS Employers and the BMA, today said talks will now continue until Wednesday next week.

Acas chairman Sir Brendan Barber warned that this was ’a strictly time limited extension’ representing ’a final opportunity to find an agreement’ to resolve the ’difficult dispute’.

He said: ’The talks have been conducted in a constructive and positive atmosphere. In my judgement some real progress has been made to address outstanding issues.

’I reached the view however, in the last 24 hours, that a limited amount of additional time would be needed to give the process a chance of reaching a successful conclusion. I proposed to the secretary of state, and to the BMA, that the talks should be continued up until next Wednesday.’

While talks continue, the Government has agreed not to impose the junior doctor contract and the BMA has agreed not to stage further industrial action.