Junior doctors in all-out strike in dispute over new contract

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An all-out strike by junior doctors started at 8am this morning.

Medics are taking industrial action after the government said it would impose a controversial new contract despite fears it will lead to unsafe working hours and pay cuts.

The British Medical Association (BMA) took the unprecedented step of junior doctors withdrawing both routine and emergency cover between 8am-5pm today and the same time tomorrow.

Outpatient appointments and operations have been cancelled and NHS hospitals have drawn up contingency plans to make sure A&E departments are safely staffed.

People are being asked only to go to A&E if they are in a genuine emergency and to seek help from GPs, pharmacists and the non-emergency helpline NHS 111.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, said on its website: “We have written to all patients whose appointments are affected, asking them to follow the instructions in the letter.

“If you haven’t received a letter please attend your appointment as normal.”

Bosses at Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals said they had tried to keep disruption to a minimum but appointments had been cancelled to maintain A&E care for the most poorly patients.

The trust’s advice to patients said: “Your GP practice will be open and working as normal during the industrial action.

“GPs, however, may experience greater demand than normal over this period, so contact them early if you need advice or an appointment.”