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Disruption expected as junior doctors' strike called off

Source: BBCNews
Hospitals across England are facing major disruption with the cancellation of thousands of operations, despite a 24-hour strike by junior doctors being called off.
The British Medical Association agreed to suspend the walk-out following a last-minute breakthrough in talks.
But it came too late for hospitals - more than 4,000 patients have already had their treatment delayed.
Two more walk outs planned for later in December have also been suspended.
The move was announced after an outline agreement was reached between the two sides following talks at conciliation service Acas.
The decision to suspend the strikes only came on Monday night - just hours before the first walk-out was due to begin at 08:00 on Tuesday.

Temporary suspension

Both sides will now spend the next few weeks going through the detail of the agreement. To allow that to happen, the BMA has agreed to suspend all three days of action.
But the joint statement - sent out by Acas - makes it clear it is only a temporary move at this stage. It points out the BMA has until 13 January to start industrial action if the next round of talks does not reach a permanent deal.
Matthew Hopkins, chief executive for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, told BBC Radio 5 Live they were "trying to get back to business as usual as quickly as we can today".
He said their outpatients had been told to go to appointments at the trust's hospitals if the strike was cancelled and they were "keen to reschedule operations" as 47 had been postponed.
Patient Donald Campbell, whose operation to have a kidney removed was delayed, said: "It is a great disappointment, it is another nine days of worry before I can get on with my life."

What is the dispute about?

  • The row between junior doctors and the government is over a new contract
  • Talks broke down last year, but the dispute has escalated in recent months after ministers said they would impose the deal next summer
  • Ministers have offered doctors an 11% pay rise, but this has been offset by curbs to other elements of the pay package, including unsociable hours payments
  • The government has said the changes are need to create more seven-days services, but the BMA has warned it could lead to doctors being over-worked because safeguards to keep a lid on excessive hours are being weakened
  • A series of protests have been held across the country and 98% of BMA members who took part in the ballot backed strike action
  • Strike action was planned for 1 December (with doctors covering emergency care) and on 8 and 16 December, which would have been a complete walk-out

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