10/02/2016 05:00 GMT | Updated 09/02/2017 05:12 GMT

Junior Doctors To Stage Second Strike As Last-Ditch Talks Fail

Thousands of junior doctors across England are going on strike after last-ditch talks failed to reach an agreement.

Junior doctors - all medics below consultant level - will provide emergency care only from 8am in the 24-hour walkout.

It is the second day of strike action by the British Medical Association (BMA) in a bitter dispute with the Government over a new contract.

A new survey ahead of the walkout suggested nine in 10 junior doctors could quit if the current contract terms were imposed.

According to the Independent, an online poll of 1,045 medics found 922 were "prepared to consider resignation" should Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt follow through on a vow to introduce his original proposal if a deal cannot be reached.

The first strike in January led to thousands of operations, procedures and appointments being cancelled across the NHS.

Wednesday's action is expected to lead to similar disruption, with analysis by NHS England showing 1,150 planned inpatient procedures have been cancelled alongside 1,734 day procedures.

Thousands more appointments could be affected.

The major sticking point in the dispute is over weekend pay and whether Saturday should be largely classed as a normal working day.

Currently, 7pm to 7am Monday to Friday and the whole of Saturday and Sunday attract a premium rate of pay for junior doctors.

An offer from the Government in November said doctors would receive time-and-a-half for any hours worked Monday to Sunday between 10pm and 7am, and time-and-a-third for any hours worked between 7pm and 10pm on Saturdays and 7am and 10pm on Sundays.

But in a new offer, dated January 16, ministers said that as part of an overall agreement, a premium rate of pay could kick in from 5pm on Saturdays rather than 7pm.

Furthermore, premium pay could start at 9pm Monday to Friday.

This offer has so far been rejected by the BMA. The Government has strongly suggested it will impose the contract if no agreement can be reached.

It is understood the BMA put forward a proposal that would have seen doctors' basic pay rise by about half the 11% offered by ministers in return for Saturday not to be treated as a normal working day.

The union argued it would have been cost neutral, meaning the Government would not pay any more than the £5bn currently spent on junior doctor salaries.

But it is thought the Government blocked that deal.

Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England, said: "The NHS is doing everything possible to minimise the impact of this regrettable strike which will delay care for thousands of patients at a time of year when service pressures across the health service are already at their highest.

"We will monitor the situation across the country to ensure plans are in place, and people are ready to respond to any significant increases in pressure in any region over the period of this strike."

Meanwhile a new poll has found that two thirds of adults in England support the strike. The survey of more than 800 people, conducted by Ipsos Mori and the Health Service Journal, found that 66% supported the action.

And 64% of those questioned said the Government was more at fault for the dispute continuing this long and 13% said the blame lies with junior doctors. Nearly a fifth (18%) believe both sides were equally at fault.