Junior doctors may yet be spared from having new pay and hours conditions imposed on them, after it was revealed 150 hospitals in England could refuse to hand-down the order.
Unlike standard NHS hospitals, foundation trusts decide the contracts of doctors with their own board rather than having them dictated by government.
Junior doctors held a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday
The loophole could undermine Hunt's contract that he plans to impose, which re-defines what constitutes "anti-social" working hours, the Guardian suggested.
Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander told the paper: “Jeremy Hunt’s decision to impose the junior doctors’ contract seems to be unravelling with every day that goes by.”
She added: “The fact that hospitals are trying to find ways around contract imposition underlines the extent to which the decision to impose a contract that nobody wants would destroy morale in the NHS.”
Alexander hit back at Hunt's plans
On Wednesday junior doctors took part in a second 24-hour strike across England. Some taught CPR and other life-saving techniques to toddlers to offer a "constructive and positive" approach to the walkout.
On Friday, Hunt faced criticism after hospital bosses denied they supported the plans. The Health Secretary had suggested that 20 NHS chief executives signed a letter supporting the imposed contract.
Since then, at least half of the bosses clarified that they had not approved the decision to impose the deal.