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Hunt: 'We absolutely will talk to unions'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the government is prepared to talk to the striking NHS unions about the current pay rise dispute.

Jeremy Hunt Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

He said: "We will talk to them if they're prepared to look to reform the system of increments, which is unclear and unfair.

"I recognise frontline staff do a magnificent job in the NHS."

  1. National

Army to drive ambulances during public sector strikes

Members of the armed forces will drive ambulances in London and the north-west when public sector workers go on strike on Monday, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Ambulances in the north west and London will be driven by army personnel. Credit: Eamonn and James Clarke/EMPICS Entertainment

An MoD spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the Ministry of Defence is providing support to the Department of Health during the 13 October industrial action by some trade unions.

"This assistance involves the provision of military drivers to support the London and the North West Ambulance Services.”

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Unison: 'Patient safety will remain paramount'

Unison's general secretary Dave Prentis has assured the public that patient safety will not be put at risk during today's strike action.

Dave Prentis the General Secretary of UNISON Credit: Philip Toscano/PA

He said: "What NHS workers also don't do is walk out on patients.

"Safety is paramount and we have been working with employers to ensure urgent patient care is not compromised."

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Hunt: Pay rise would mean 'letting go of 14,000 nurses'

If the government implemented the recommended pay rise for NHS staff at least 14,000 nurses would be laid off over the next two years, the health secretary said.

Jeremy Hunt told Good Morning Britain he would have "loved to have been more generous" but had been told in no uncertain terms a real terms pay rise would mean drastically reducing staff numbers.

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