Jeremy Hunt as rejected the British Medical Association’s (BMA)┬áproposal to cancel next week’s all-out junior doctor strike if he suspends the imposition of the new contract.

The Health Secretary refused to accept this compromise after a letter from the BMA said that the doctors did not want to take any additional industrial action, but were not ready to sit by and accept a contract forced upon them. In the letter, the union encouraged the government to “get back around the table” to negotiate the contract while a Department for Health spokesperson said that “it is not credible to call for imposition to be lifted when they refused to negotiate the one remaining issue”.

Under the new contract, junior doctors will be required to work more weekends for less pay, despite the Health Secretary vehemently denying this is the case. A 13.5 percent increase to basic pay will happen to compensate, but there will be no additional funding offered, meaning that junior doctors fear that the workforce will be stretched to its very limit. Many medics have cited concerns for patient safety when this contract is imposed.

Next week’s strike will be the first to include junior doctors from all departments including Accident and Emergency and other forms of emergency services.