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Junior Doctors went on strike this week resulting in over 3,000 operations being cancelled nationwide.

Patients were urged to see their GPs instead of attending hospital.

NHS England said about 10,000 junior doctors had reported for duty out of 26,000 scheduled to work the day shift on Tuesday – although many of those had agreed in advance to come in to make sure emergency cover was provided and others were not members of the BMA.

The action came after the BMA and the government failed to reach agreement on a proposed new contract for junior doctors.

The BMA, which is concerned about pay for weekend working, career progression and safeguards to protect doctors from being overworked, said the strike had sent a “clear message” to the government.

However, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the walkout as “completely unnecessary” and urged junior doctors to return to the negotiating table.

Officials from Acas (Conciliation service) said they would hold discussions with both sides, although government sources said they were still prepared to impose the contract if the deadlock could not be broken.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which represents the government in contract talks, said he hoped that would not happen.

“I’m really hopeful that when the BMA return to the talks we can give junior doctors more confidence in both the pay offer that we’re putting to them, but also the improved protections we want to put in place around their safety.

“I am desperate to avoid another repeat of industrial action at the end of the month. It’s not in their interest and it’s not in the interest of patients.”

The next proposed strike is a 48-hour one beginning on 26 January.

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