HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt received a rough reception from junior doctors when he visited Southampton.

Medics voiced their anger about long hours and staff shortages during a question and answer session with the Secretary of State when he visited University Hospital Southampton (UHS) to discuss patients safety.

Under their new contract, the maximum number of hours junior doctors will have to work in a week will reduced from 91 to 72 while fines will be introduced for trusts that exceed this limit.

However, junior doctors across the organisation were displeased with his comments claiming Mr Hunt was putting severe pressure on them.

On Twitter, a junior doctor claimed Mr Hunt said 'If you trust the media, you'd think the NHS is in crisis', which was apparently met with shock by those in the meeting.

A Department for Health spokesman could neither confirm nor deny Mr Hunt said this.

Anastasia Theodosiou, 29, a junior doctor at UHS says that morale and poor working conditions are driving junior doctors away.

Ms Theodosiou also said that doctors are dropping out or taking time out of their training courses because they can’t cope with the pressure and this is adding to the burden of those remaining.

She added: “They rota us in for extra shifts to meet demand which can severely disrupt work life balance, how can you work like this? This creates poor morale.

“Hospitals are at breaking point, if we don’t retain the staff that we are training then what is the point on wasting thousands of pounds training them in the first place.”

A doctor, who does not wish to be named, told the Daily Echo: “The new rota for junior doctors is virtually unworkable.

“Forty per cent that qualify end up working abroad leaving massive rota gaps so for those of us that are left are under incredible pressure so we have to work even harder to keep patients safe.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors’ committee chair Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya said: “While the NHS remains the best healthcare system in the world, years of underinvestment in the face of rising patient demand, combined with the government’s poor workforce planning, has left it at breaking point.

“This is not acceptable. The government must step up and act in the best interests of the NHS, its staff, and its patients, rather than continuing to starve health services of resource and patients of care.”

In response, the Department for Health insisted that the working conditions and hours for junior doctors provided safety and security and would ensure that they need to work longer hours than those in their work schedule.