It's looking more like health secretary Jeremy Hunt will have to leave his job, according to bookies

James Nickerson
Follow James
The majority of the public still backs junior doctors (Source: Getty)

Today is the first all-out doctors' strike in the NHS's history, and while health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called it a "bleak day" for the NHS, it may turn out to be bleaker still for him.

Bookies now reckon that he's most likely to be the next cabinet minister to resign or lose his job.

Business secretary Sajid Javid and the steel crisis had dominated headlines weeks ago, but the odds of Hunt being the next to resign has now tumbled from 6/1 to 5/2 with Betway, as he continues to battle with striking doctors.

Junior doctors walked out of routine and emergency care at 8am this morning, affecting A&E, maternity and intensive care. The walkout ends at 5pm this evening, but further action is scheduled for tomorrow.

Read more: British Medical Association confirms all-out strike for 26 and 27 April

Hunt told the BBC this morning that it was a "very, very bleak day" for the NHS. "The reason this has happened is because the government has been unable to negotiate sensibly and reasonably with the BMA," he added.

But the majority of the public blame the government, according to a new Ipsos Mori poll, while they back junior doctors.

Negotiations between the government and British Medical Association broke down in January, leading Hunt to announce the government would enforce the contract on junior doctors.

The contract reduces the amount paid for work on the weekend, although basic pay will be increased, but the BMA wants weekend pay to be higher and more investment if the government wants to make a seven-day NHS a reality.

Read more: Hunt calls for end to "unnecessary strikes"

Javid does, however, remain the bookmaker's second favourite, with culture secretary John Whittingdale third after questions around his conduct.

"If it wasn’t for a faltering steel industry, the revelations of John Whittingdale’s personal life and the difference of opinion on EU membership within the Conservative party, Hunt would be even shorter than 5/2," Betway said.

Meanwhile, William Hill are offering odds of 11/10 that Hunt will no longer be in the role before the end of the year.

"Hunt is taking a firm line over the doctors' strike which could ultimately cost him what he has already called his "last big job in politics"," said William Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe.