Junior doctors' strike
A woman holds a placard as she takes part in a picket outside St Thomas' Hospital in London Carl Court/Getty

Junior doctors have staged a second mass walkout after talks to resolve the dispute over new contracts failed. Around 40,000 doctors went on strike from 8am on 10 February for 24 hours, less than a month after the first 24-hour strike saw doctors go on strike for the first time in more than 40 years.

The British Medical Association's decision to go ahead with the industrial action has led to the cancellation of nearly 3,000 operations in England.

The British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union for doctors in Britain, said the strikes were a result of the government's "failure to address doctors leaders' concerns with robust contractual safeguards on safe working and proper recognition of those working unsocial hours".

Which services are affected?

Junior doctors, meaning those below consultancy level, will strike for 24 hours in England but not Scotland or Wales. Emergency cover will still be provided, but thousands of routine operations could be postponed, such as hip replacements and knee operations, and routine tests could be cancelled.

Every A&E will be open during the strike, but routine clinics will likely be disrupted.

The strike was originally intended to last 48 hours, with walkouts among emergency services too, but this was downgraded to prevent a breakdown in talks.

Why is a second strike taking place?

The dispute is focused on a new contract for junior doctors proposed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of a larger government drive to create a seven-day NHS.

Junior doctors and their leaders are objecting to the prospect of a new contract. In 2012, the government said the current contracts, which set the employment conditions of the NHS's junior doctors in England and were last updated in the 1990s, needed to be changed.

The BMA began negotiations, but talks broke down in 2014 and the row escalated after ministers said they would bring the new contracts into force in August 2016.

Junior doctors' strike
Junior doctors and staff members protest outside Maudsley Hospital in London Carl Court/Getty

The details of the dispute are changing as the row continues, but the key issues concern how much junior doctors are paid for the hours they work, the requirement to work in different settings and when they work, with a focus on nights and weekends.

Some of the issues have been resolved, but the dispute between ministers and the BMA over the expectation for doctors to work on Saturdays without premium pay is ongoing. Talks to avert the latest strike broke down after Hunt rejected a proposal which addressed pay for working evenings and Saturdays.

One doctor told IBTimes UK: "We are going on strike for patients because we know how this will all pan out. We feel that the government's aims include destroying the NHS – we have seen what they have done with the nurses' bursaries. The NHS is not safe in their hands, and we are heading towards a system that will remove the key core principles of the NHS – which is free care at point of access for anyone who needs it.

Who backed the strikes?

Some 98% of junior doctors balloted by the BMA voted in favour of strikes, out of the 76% who participated in the vote in November 2015. Approximately 37,000 junior doctors took part in the vote.

Lucy Greenhalgh, a foundation doctor, told IBTimes UK: "I support the strike. I know it's not ideal and I know there will be inconveniences but we have been left with no choice.

"This is not just about junior doctors, and it is certainly not just about the pay but about supporting all the amazing NHS staff. But most importantly, it's about the patients and the survival of the NHS."