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Video report. It was the first all out junior doctors' strike in the history of the NHS - and a bleak day for hospitals and their patients across the south.
As junior doctors took part in the first all-out strike in history amidst questions about patient safety, GP trainee Cara Neal explained her motivation for striking.
On a march to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton she said:
"Whilst I was a medical student my dad died in this hospital in the A&E. And I can't tell you how hard it was to walk in the door and work in A&E where I knew my dad had died.
"So if Jeremy Hunt or David Cameron thinks we are going to give up, we're not. Because that took the most guts I've ever had to have, and this is nothing. I will keep striking, I will keep going."
The junior doctor explained:
"I truly believe this is going to be the final nail in the coffin for an NHS free at the point of access. The amount of despair that I have seen in my colleagues is going to mean we can't fill the rostas to a safe level. And that will be the point at which they swoop in and we become a different health service that we don't want".
Health secretary has denied stopping strike action by junior doctors is "in his hands", accusing the British Medical Association of trying to "blackmail" the government.
Jeremy Hunt asked on BBC Breakfast: "Is it proportionate, or appropriate to withdraw emergency care?"
The Health Secretary said: "It was the first page of our manifesto that we'd have a seven-day NHS.
"I don't think any union has the right to blackmail the Government, to force the Government to abandon a manifesto promise that the British people have voted on."
Junior doctors, on strike in Brighton, were supported by throngs of people this morning.
There was a large turnout this morning at the Royal Sussex County Hospital as junior doctors went on strike.
The head of the BMA has defended the decision for junior doctors to go ahead with a two-day strike over the imposition of a new contract, saying the government "utterly refuses to listen to the concerns of junior doctors".
Dr Mark Porter said as long as the government planned to impose the disputed contract, "industrial action will have to be mounted".
He also reiterated that there will be a full emergency service in place while strike action takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thousands of junior doctors are staging the first all-out strike in the history of the NHS after the Health Secretary made it clear a new contract will go ahead. Junior doctors from across our region will take part. But this time emergency care will be affected including A & E, urgent maternity services, resuscitation and mental health.
Junior doctors will strike from 8am to 5pm today and again on Wednesday. Picket lines are expected outside most of our hospitals including Southampton General. The Royal Berkshire and the Royal Sussex County Hospital. Campaigners will march through Brighton in support of those taking industrial action.
Jeremy Hunt appealed directly to medics on Monday not to withdraw emergency cover, which he said had particular risks for A&E departments, maternity and intensive care.Despite three days of letters back and forth and a phone call between Mr Hunt and the head of the BMA on Monday, no agreement on a way forward has been reached.
Mr Hunt said he was motivated by a desire to improve weekend services in the NHS and told MPs that "no trade union" had the right to veto a Government manifesto commitment to do so. He said the disruption over the next two days is "unprecedented" but the NHS has made "exhaustive efforts" to ensure patient safety.
The BMA has defended the walkout, repeating its stance that it would have called off the strike if Mr Hunt agreed to lift his threat to impose the contract.
Yesterday more than a dozen presidents of royal colleges and faculties urged David Cameron to step in "at the 11th hour" to break the stalemate.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Hunt should "back off ", adding: "We must stand up and defend the NHS."
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The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said women and their babies will be cared for by senior doctors during the walk-out.