Deal on junior doctor contract 'agreed'

Demonstrators at a rally and protest march for junior doctors in London Image copyright PA

A deal has been agreed in the long-running dispute over a new junior doctors' contract in England.

Government negotiators and the British Medical Association leadership have reached an agreement after eight days of talks at conciliation service Acas.

The offer will now be put to a vote of BMA members.

That means it could still end up being rejected, but the fact the union and government have agreed a deal to end the stalemate is a major breakthrough.

These talks were seen as the last chance to get an agreement and were set up after a series of strikes, including the first-ever full walk-out by doctors.

It comes after the government announced in February it would be imposing the contract from this summer after previous talks failed.

BMA junior doctor leader Dr Johann Malawana said the agreement was a "good deal for junior doctors" and would enable them to "continue to deliver high-quality care for patients".

"This represents the best and final way of resolving the dispute and this is what I will be saying to junior doctors in the weeks leading up to the referendum on the new contract."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: "This deal represents a definitive step forward for patients, for doctors and for the NHS as a whole."