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The BMA has suspended the five-day junior doctors' strike which was due to take place across England next week.Read the full story ›
The medical regulator has urged junior doctors to seriously consider whether or not to take part in a new wave of strikes.Read the full story ›
Healthcare leaders have called on the British Medical Association (BMA) to call off the proposed series of five-day strikes by junior doctors later this month.
NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation, which represent NHS hospital, community, mental health and ambulance service trusts in England, said the planned action would lead to around 125,000 lost operations and over one million lost outpatient appointments.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "With barely any notice for trusts to prepare, this unprecedented level of strike action will cause major disruption and risk patient safety.
"NHS trust leaders agree with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges that this action is disproportionate."
He added that less than 40% of junior doctors supported rejecting an agreement "strongly endorsed by their own representatives".
Theresa May has been urged to "pause" plans to bring in a new junior doctors' contract after the issue led to an extended stand-off and planned strikes.
Elizabeth McAnulty of the Patients Association told ITV News that the prime minister should suspend work on the controversial new deal - as she previously did with the Hinkley point power plant.
She called on Ms May to "step in and stop this - pause it - until she's had an opportunity to really look at the facts" as patients face repeated strikes by junior doctors over the rest of the year.
Ms McAnulty said the impact of the strikes on patients would be "devastating" and they would lead to some 30,000 operations being cancelled.
Junior doctors' planned series of strikes are an "unforgivable" betrayal of those needing care, the Patients Association has said.
Chief executive Katherine Murphy said it was a "disturbing" time to be an NHS patient as she warned medics may have gone a "step too far".
From a patient's point of view it is obviously catastrophic news - the scale of the industrial action is unforgivable.
It's putting patients under unnecessary stress and worry because every day they're hearing about a crisis in the NHS and the financial problems in our hospitals up and down the country.
She added that the public supported the medical profession but the extent of the strikes risked eroding public trust.
A series of five-day long strikes by junior doctors could force the NHS to cancel up to half a million operations and four million appointments, a health boss has suggested.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents frontline NHS leaders, said the actions would cause "unprecedented" disruption to patients.
"We're talking about four sets of five days of strikes," he told BBC Breakfast.
"That's equivalent to half a million - 500,000 - cancelled operations and four million lost outpatient appointments, so what we're talking about is a completely unprecedented scale of disruption and negative impact on patients; it's extremely worrying."
Planned junior doctors' strikes throughout the rest of the year are a "devastating blow", a national patients' group has warned.
The Patients Association condemned the strike action as it said that the repeated stoppages would lead to cancelled operations and longer waits for treatment.
This is a devastating blow to patients, and a destructive next step as far as any kind of negotiations go.
Chief executive Katherine Murphy called on both junior doctors and the government to return to talks in a fight over pay and conditions.
"At least one person a day calls our helpline specifically to ask for support following a cancelled or delayed hospital appointment or surgery," she said.
"This is only going to increase if the Government and BMA don't take this opportunity to resume meaningful and sincere negotiations to prevent further industrial action."