UK junior doctors go on strike

British junior doctors have gone on a strike causing major disruption to hospitals across the country.

This is the first walkout of its kind over the past 40 years. Now tens of thousands of the junior doctors are providing only emergency cover during a 24-hour walkout which started yesterday. This means that several thousand routine operations have had to be cancelled, along with appointments and tests.

55,000 junior doctors are working in Britain, making up a third of the medical workforce. They are qualified medical practitioners who are working while studying for qualifications to take more senior roles.

The strike is over a new type of contract which the government says will improve healthcare at night and at weekends but the doctors say would drastically reduce their pay.

Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron appealed to junior doctors to call off what he said was an unnecessary strike which would cause “real difficulties” to the NHS. The Conservative government says the reforms are needed to help create a “seven days a week” NHS where the quality of care is as high at the weekends as on weekdays.The NHS has so far postponed 4,000 routine treatments due to the strike. A further 48-hour stoppage is due to take place on January 26, while on February 10, there will be a full withdrawal of labour from 0800 GMT to 1700 GMT.

The NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world, providing health care which is largely free at the point of delivery. It is widely respected in Britain, with pollsters YouGov rating it the institution which the most people view positively. — PressTV.

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