Northern Ireland

Junior doctors: Simon Hamilton wants to negotiate contract

Simon Hamilton
Image caption Simon Hamilton said the best solution was a negotiated one

The health minister has said he does not want to impose a contract on junior doctors despite the government announcing it will do so in England.

Simon Hamilton told the BBC he would rather negotiate with clinicians.

Mr Hamilton said he would prefer this to imposing something that may create division.

Junior doctors in Northern Ireland did not strike although they supported those in England who did.

They have been closely monitoring the situation.

Mr Hamilton told the BBC: "I don't want to impose a contract. Right from the start I've been saying that the best solution here is a negotiated solution and that's what I want to see happen and I'm disappointed that it hasn't happened.

"I also await something that is just in development at this minute in time - I want to see how the BMA also responds to it and I think that will be crucial.

"I want to work with the BMA and junior doctor representatives in Northern Ireland to find the solution that is right for Northern Ireland."

The BMA has said it is considering all options as the dispute threatens to escalate.

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