I have recently had a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health and other MP colleagues to discuss the dispute between the government and junior doctors.
I urged the Secretary of State to get talks started again, and am pleased that next week there will be meetings between the two sides.
I strongly support the idea of a seven day emergency service for the NHS, where similar staffing and service is available at week-ends to the rest of the week. The government is not proposing a seven day a week non emergency service. The government is rightly concerned about the poorer outturns to treatments on average in NHS hospitals at week-ends.
I also recognise that junior doctors carry an important workload and need sensible reassurances over hours of work and pay. These things are best thrashed out between the two sides in talks, however long they may take.
I have long argued that the public does not understand what the main issue in this dispute is, and suggested that talking is the better course of action. Ministers argue now that the main outstanding disagreement is the question of how much extra staff get paid for working Saturday shifts to provide better emergency service. This does not sound fundamental or unbridgeable.