The NHS is set to be thrown into chaos by strike action after junior doctors voted, in overwhelming fashion, to walk out over the terms of a new contract.
In a ballot of more than 37,000 junior doctors in England, organised by the British Medical Association, 98 percent voted to strike.
The decision means that non-urgent services in many hospitals, such as planned operations and outpatient clinics, will have to be put on hold. Strikes are due to be held on 1, 8 and 16 December – as many of the NHS’s 45,000 trainee doctors walk out of work.
The last time junior doctors took strike action was 40 years ago, in November 1975, also over a new contract that they believed would see them working much longer hours.
Under the current contract hospitals are forced to pay a doctor significantly more when they have worked over 48 hours in a week.
In October Hunt promised junior doctors would not have to work longer hours for less pay, but students and medics have since made it clear that they did not think this promise was enough.