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Summary

  1. A third strike by junior doctors in their contract row with the government in England is under way
  2. The walkout started at 08:00 GMT on Wednesday and will last 48 hours - the longest strike so far
  3. More than 5,000 treatments have been postponed
  4. Thousands of check-ups, appointments and tests have also been affected
  5. Ministers announced last month they would impose a contract on junior doctors

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and James Gallagher

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye (for now)

    We're going to pause our live coverage of the junior doctors' strike.

    We'll rekindle our live updates should any major developments take place.

    You can find out more about the strike here.

  2. Government believes strikes are 'unjustified'

    The Department of Health has released the following statement in relation to the latest strike action.

    A spokesman said: "Patients have so far seen more than 19,000 operations cancelled as a result of the BMA's irresponsible and unjustified industrial action."

    Yesterday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt quoted the words of Nye Bevan - the founder of the NHS - who once described the BMA as being full of "politically poisoned people".

  3. Targets missed

    As doctors continue to strike, NHS England have released figures which show that delays in accident and emergency units in England have reached record levels. 

    Figures for January show 88.7% of patients were dealt with within four hours. The target is 95%. 

    Overall attendances were up by more than 10% compared with the same time last year. 

    There was also a sharp rise in emergency admissions. Calls to NHS 111 increased by more than 17%. 

    NHS England says given the record demands on services it's not surprising hospitals saw a dip in their A and E performance. 

  4. Cancelled ops breakdown

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to impose the new contract on junior doctors - everyone below consultant level - after months of talks with the British Medical Association (BMA) failed to reach a resolution. 

    Figures from 228 organisations, of which 154 are acute hospital trusts, show that 2,077 inpatient procedures have been cancelled due to Wednesday and today's industrial action alongside 3,187 day case operations and procedures, NHS England said. 

    Hundreds more routine clinics and appointments are also likely to be affected. 

  5. Analysis

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    This is unchartered territory for hospitals. 

    The previous strikes by junior doctors in England lasted 24 hours so wards would by now be returning to normal. 

    But with the strike going into the second day, hospitals risk having a problem discharging patients who are ready to leave. 

    Junior doctors play a vital role checking test results and ensuring patients are discharged safely. 

    If patients can’t be released, wards get full and that has an impact on waits in A&E. 

    Over 5,000 operations and treatments were cancelled in advance. 

    Whether that is enough to ensure there is enough slack in the system is something hospitals will find out today.

  6. What is the dispute about?

    Junior doctors' leaders are objecting to the prospect of a new contract in England.

    The government has described the current arrangements as "outdated" and "unfair", pointing out they were introduced in the 1990s.

    Ministers drew up plans to change the contract in 2012, but talks broke down in 2014.

    They restarted at the end of last year at the conciliation service Acas, but a deal could not be reached and so ministers announced in February they would be imposing the contract from this summer.

    Click here for more detail.

  7. Strike could 'clog up wards'

    Dr Anne Rainsberry, who is in charge of planning during the strike, suggested hospitals might find it difficult to discharge patients without junior doctors working, which could then clog up hospital wards.

    She said this was because they had a vital role in chasing up test results and ensuring patients were ready for discharge.

    Quote Message: So far the NHS is holding up, but we always expected the second half of the strike to be more challenging
  8. Tougher second day

    NHS bosses have warned the second day of the walkout is likely to be more difficult for hospitals in England.

    Doctors walked out at 08:00 GMT on Wednesday and hospitals seemed to cope well on the first day.

    However, NHS England said today was likely to prove "more challenging".

  9. Good morning

    Good morning. We are now beginning a second day of live coverage of the 48-hour strike by junior doctors in England.

  10. Goodbye

    This is the end of the BBC's live coverage of the junior doctors strike for today. More than 5,000 operations have been cancelled as doctors strike for the third time over the new contract, which has now been imposed on medics by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

    This latest strike is set to last for 48 hours, so we will be back on Thursday morning to bring you more updates.

    In the meantime, for the latest developments on issue, check out the BBC News story, here.

  11. Dear Mr Hunt 'your plans terrify me'

    Hannah Barham-Brown is a final-year medical student at St George’s, University of London she has written an open letter to Jeremy Hunt

    In it she writes: "I have never doubted that medicine was the right thing for me to do – until the last six months. 

    "And that’s not because I’m scared of qualifying, that’s not because I’m scared of working as a doctor, it’s because the contract that you have now decided you are going to impose is utterly terrifying for my professional future."

    Read full letter here.

  12. Doctors now considering working abroad

    Niall Durrant is a second year doctor at St George's Hospital in Tooting, London. He is now planning to take a year out partly to see how the dispute plays out.

    Niall Durrant
    Quote Message: "The dispute is definitely making me think about other options other than going straight into specialist training in the NHS. I'm more aware now of things like working abroad, working with charities like MSF, working within the UK as a doctor, but not locked into this contract." from Niall Durrant Junior doctor
    Niall DurrantJunior doctor