LONDON (AA) – Thousands of doctors in England went on strike Tuesday causing widespread disruption to medical services across the country.
Hospitals were only providing emergency care and thousands of routine appointments were cancelled as a result of the stoppage, the first in the U.K. for 40 years.
The strike was called over plans to reform pay and working hours for some medics in the National Health Service (NHS).
The government wants hospitals to provide more medical services at weekends, but “junior doctors” — a term that covers medics in the first decade of their career — say the proposed arrangement meant they would receive less pay for working unsocial hours in the evenings and weekends.
Services at hospitals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are administered by local governments and were not affected by the action.
Earlier Prime Minister David Cameron had called on doctors to call off the strike.
In a message Monday he said: “This strike is not necessary, it will be damaging. We are doing everything we can to mitigate its effects but you can’t have a strike on this scale in our NHS without there being some real difficulties for patients and potentially worse.”
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