More than half of the NHS bosses named on a letter advising the government to do "whatever necessary" to resolve a dispute with junior doctors have said they are against the imposition of the new contracts.

Jeremy Hunt referred to a letter signed by 20 NHS Trust chiefs when he announced that he would push through new junior doctors' contracts in England after a failure to reach an agreement with the British Medical Association (BMA).

But 12 of those named have now confirmed that although they thought the latest concessions by Hunt were "fair and reasonable", they disagreed with forcing contracts on medics.

Dr Sonia Swart, chief executive of Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, told the Health Service Journal (£) she asked her name to be removed as she did not support the imposition of the contracts.

No I don't agree with imposition - I expect all of us got involved to try and get a negotiated settlement and that was a hope - although David's intervention was so far down the track it was a hope rather than an expectation.

Susan Acott, chief executive of Dartford and Gravesham Trust

I wasn't asked about imposition and I have supported finding a resolution but not imposition.

Matthew Kershaw, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Only eight of the 20, including Sir David Dalton who led the talks with the BMA on behalf of the government, remain that have not confirmed a specific view on the imposition of the contracts.