Junior doctors: Jeremy Hunt vote-of-no-confidence petition surpasses 250,000 signatures

Health Secretary under fire for decision to 'unilaterally' impose a new contract after talks with the British Medical Association broke down

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A petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has passed 250,000 signatures. 

The minister has come under fire for his decision to “unilaterally” impose a new contract on junior doctors after talks between the British Medical Association and the Department of Health broke down. 

Doctors say the new contract - which redefines “anti-social” working hours - is unsafe for patients because it encourages hospitals to ask staff to work longer shifts and will reduce their take home pay. 

The petition on the Government’s website reached over 100,000 signatures within 24 hours of its launch and will now have to be considered for debate in Parliament. 

The petition, started by Graham Hillman, said: “Mr Hunt recently gave totally inappropriate advice to Google conditions before seeking medical opinion. 

“He referred to paramedics as ambulance drivers and has caused the first doctors strike in years of the NHS. Mr Hunt is destroying all staff morale in the NHS & will cause recruitment issues.”

It comes as an Ipsos Mori poll for trade publication the Health Service Journal showed 64 per cent of people surveyed blamed Mr Hunt for the dispute. 

It also showed 66 per cent of respondents supported the 24-hour strike carried out by junior doctors on Wednesday in protest at the new terms and conditions. 

In a speech to Parliament, when he announced the imposition, Mr Hunt said the changes were necessary in order to fulfill the Conservative party’s manifesto commitment to a “seven-day NHS”

He insisted junior doctors would not see a reduction in their take-home pay after Saturdays and evening work are reclassified as normal working hours.

Mr Hunt also claimed 20 NHS bosses had personally told him they support his plans but 14 have since distanced themselves from him.