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Battle over health care: UK doctors walk off the job

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Junior doctors hold placards as they take part in the start of a 48-hour strike on their picket line outside St Thomas' Hospital in London, yesterday.

LONDON (AP):

Thousands of junior doctors posted picket lines outside hospitals around England on Tuesday in the first all-out strike in the history of Britain's National Health Service.

The two-day strike marks the first time that vital NHS emergency services have been affected by an industrial action.

The strike reflects the impasse between the government and the junior doctors - physicians with up to 10 years' experience - over the government's pledge to greatly expand National Health Service care on weekends.

The financial dispute centre's on whether day shifts on Saturday should be treated as a normal working day. The government proposal calls for extra pay for shifts on Saturday night and Sunday.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the government would not be "blackmailed" into scrapping its election pledge to bolster weekend services. He said that promise was a centrepiece of the Conservative Party's platform in the 2015 election.