More than 2,800 operations have been cancelled ahead of a 24-hour strike by junior doctors in England. The walkout comes after last-ditch talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Government broke down.
The major point of contention concerns weekend pay and whether Saturdays should be considered an ordinary day of the week, or a day when overtime should be paid.
In November, the Government offered time-and-a-half for hours worked Monday to Sunday between 10pm and 7am; time-and-a-third for between 7pm and 10pm on Saturdays and 7am and 10pm on Sundays.
A new offer said doctors would receive an overtime rate from 5pm on Saturdays, rather than the 7pm initially proposed, and higher pay could be offered from 9pm until 7am during Monday to Friday.
This offer has so far been rejected by the BMA.
The BMA says Saturday is not a normal working day and wants junior doctors to be paid more.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested he will bring in the new contract for junior doctors unless agreement is reached within the next few weeks.
Analysis by NHS England estimates 1,150 planned inpatient procedures have been cancelled as well as 1,734 day procedures.
Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England, said: “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.”
A new poll by Ipsos Mori and the Health Service Journal has found that two thirds of adults in England support the strike.
And 64% of those questioned said the Government is more at fault for the dispute continuing this long and 13% said the blame lies with junior doctors.