A strike by junior doctors next month has been escalated to include the withdrawal of emergency care.
The British Medical Association announced on Wednesday that the full walkout will take place at 8am-5pm on 26 April and 8am-5pm on 27 April.
“This action is wholly avoidable but the government must choose talks over imposition”
Emergency care will still be provided by juniors outside of these hours, however all other junior doctors will be striking for the full 48 hours.
Throughout the full walk out senior consultants, nurses and other staff will be providing emergency cover.
The BMA said: “The BMA has today confirmed an escalation of the junior doctor industrial action scheduled for April.
“This follows the continued refusal by the government to step back from its decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors from August this year and resolve the dispute by re-entering talks.
“The industrial action scheduled for 26 April will change from 48 hour emergency care only to a full withdrawal of labour by junior doctors between the hours of 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April. Other doctors and staff will continue to provide care during this time.”
BMA junior doctors committee chair Johann Malawana said: “No junior doctor wants to take this action but the government has left us with no choice.
“In refusing to lift imposition and listen to junior doctors’ outstanding concerns, the government will bear direct responsibility for the first full walkout of doctors in this country,” he said.
“The government is refusing to get back around the table and is ploughing ahead with plans to impose a contract junior doctors have no confidence in and have roundly rejected,” said Dr Malawana.
“We deeply regret the disruption to patients and our message to patients is clear; this action is wholly avoidable but the government must choose talks over imposition,” he added.
An emergency care only strike is due to begin at 8am on 6 April and will end at 8am on 8 April.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ”This escalation of industrial action by the BMA is both desperate and irresponsible – and will inevitably put patients in harm’s way.
”If the BMA had agreed to negotiate on Saturday pay, as they promised to do through ACAS in November, we’d have a negotiated agreement by now – instead, we had no choice but to proceed with proposals recommended and supported by NHS leaders,” he added.