Picture gallery: Junior doctors walk out of the Whittington and Royal Free for the first time in 40 years

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital in Archway on 12.01.15.

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital in Archway on 12.01.15. - Credit: Archant

Protestors gathered outside The Whittington and The Royal Free hospitals today as junior doctors walked out over a contract dispute.

Junior doctors were today joined by patients and members of the public as they demonstrated against government plans to impose contract changes.

The strikes were called by the British Medical Association after negotiations with the Department of Health broke down.

On-call junior doctors performing emergency care have continued to work.

The Whittington Hospital currently has a total of 249 junior doctors in employment but cannot confirm how many have walked out. A spokesman for the Whittington said emergency services are running well and added: “Safety remains our priority and our teams across the hospital and community have been working hard to minimise disruption and cancellations for patients.”

The Royal Free Hospital released a statement saying: “We have put plans in place to enable us to deliver safe services for patients during the strike action and we would like to apologise for an inconvenience this may cause.”

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, described the strikes as “very disappointing and unnecessary”.

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He said: “I would like to thank the NHS staff who have worked really hard today to keep patients safe in very challenging circumstances, including the junior doctors who have gone into work.”

To keep up-to-date with strike action and to read interviews with junior doctors, pick up a copy of the Ham&High on Thursday.