Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to all 50,000 junior doctors in England with an increased pay offer in a last ditch attempt to persuade them not to take industrial action.
Junior doctors will receive ballot papers from the British Medical Association (BMA) on 5 November, and they will have two weeks to decide whether to go on strike over the government’s proposed changes their working conditions and pay.
Hunt’s latest offer includes a pay rise for some doctors and small concessions about unsociable working hours.
Doctors have become frustrated a lack of concessions from the government in discussions and Hunt has threatened to impose the new contract on doctors in August if negotiations did not produce an agreement.
Thousands of doctors have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest against the contract offer, which they say will amount to a 15% pay cut for some doctors and a serious risk that patient safety could be affected because of longer working hours.
Hunt, who has previous co-authored a book calling for the privatisation of the NHS, has continued to use misleading statistics to claim that the NHS does not provide a seven day health service.
Hunt has previously been reprimanded by the UK Statistics Authority for lying about increased spending on the NHS by the Conservative government.