Junior doctors' strike live: Jeremy Hunt brands strike 'unnecessary' as poll shows high public support for stoppage

4,000 routine operations have been postponed but emergency care has been left in place

Members of staff take part in a picket outside St Thomas' Hospital on January 12, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.
Members of staff take part in a picket outside St Thomas' Hospital on January 12, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.

Junior doctors walked out on strike at 8am on Tuesday morning as a poll showed strong public support for their stoppage.

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66 per cent of the public told Ipsos MORI/Newsnight/HSJ that they supported the non-emergency strike action, with only 16 per cent against.

The medics, who left work at 8am, will not return for 24 hours. This is the first stage in a rolling programme of three planned strikes in protest against attempted Government changes to contracts.

A dispute has also arisen at Sandwell hospital after managers declared a 'level 4' emergency and told doctors to return to work. The trust that runs the hospital later dropped the request after doctors remained defiant, however.

The British Medical Association said it would notify doctors if they should return to work. They have remained on picket lines so far.

Doctors say the changes will put patients' safety and risk and penalise those working anti-social hours, while the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the changes are necessary to improve care on the weekends.

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