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#GPnews: Eight in ten junior doctors take part in first ever all-out strike

17:06 Commenting on the strong turnout in today’s strike, BMA junior doctor committee chair Dr Johann Malawana said that ’figures indicate that more or less all of those eligible to take action today did so, and are in line with the proportion of junior doctors who are members of the BMA’.

He said: ’The overwhelming turnout at almost 150 picket lines across England today shows the strength of feeling amongst junior doctors against the government’s plans.

’Tens of thousands protested against a contract they believe is unfair and damaging to patient care in the long term.’

But he added that doctors ’deeply regret the disruption to patients and are taking this action as a last resort and with a heavy heart’.

16:20 Statistics unveiled by NHS England have shown that the turnout for Tuesday’s action was 78%, compared with 88% during the last strike day in March.

NHS England said the latest data, ’as at 0900hrs, indicates that 78% (21,608) of junior doctors who were expected to be working have not reported for duty today – this includes other forms of absence not just industrial action such as sickness’.

15:47 The diplomatic NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, has given an exclusive comment to Pulse on the junior doctor strike.

In an interview with Pulse earlier today, Mr Stevens refused to be drawn on whether the strike could have been avoided but said today was ‘a sad day’ for both NHS and doctors.

Read the full story here.

13:29 Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw the junior doctor contract imposition – or risk the whole of the UK’s reputation as an employer internationally.

In an open letter, Ms Sturgeon quoted concern raised by the Scottish Royal Colleges, adding: ’I am writing to raise my increasing concerns over the impact of your government’s decision to impose a contract on junior doctors in England…

’To alienate or drive away this group of doctors from the profession risks the skills and resources that would be available across the UK in the future and the ongoing dispute and apparerent refusal of your government to return to negotiations risks the reputation of the UK as an employer internationally.’

The Royal Colleges responded with a joint statement, thanking the Scottish Government for refusing to follow suit and impose the junior doctor contract in Scotland.

11:58 But, by contrast, the Telegraph runs a comment piece saying Jeremy Hunt is a ‘hero for standing up to BMA bullies’ on the contract dispute.

The paper says: ’No one elected the BMA to decide how the NHS should be run. That should be the job of our democratic politicians.

’Hunt has a clear mandate from the Conservative victory in 2015 to introduce a proper seven-day-a-week health service, which can only be done through a new contract.’

10:46 ’This is one of the saddest days in the history of the NHS’, shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has said in a statement.

Pointing out that the dispute still requires a resolution, she said: ’Nobody wanted to see this strike go ahead, least of all junior doctors. But Jeremy Hunt’s handling of this dispute has been utterly shambolic.’

It comes as yesterday the Labour MP launched a scathing attack on Mr Hunt in the House of Commons, saying history would ‘not be kind’ to Mr Hunt when remembering the junior doctor contract dispute.

9:38 Good morning and welcome to the live blog. A poll of the public, carried out by the BBC, has shown that a majority of people still support the junior doctor strike, depsite the historic move by doctors to withdraw emergency care for the first time since the inception of the NHS.

The poll showed that 57% are in support, although this was down from 65% at the time of the last strike day in March. The new poll showed that 26% are now opposed.