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English doctors' leaders and government agree deal to end dispute

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Leaders of junior doctors in England and the government said on Wednesday they agreed a deal to end a long-running dispute which led to the first all-out strike in the nearly 70-year history of the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

[LONDON] Leaders of junior doctors in England and the government said on Wednesday they agreed a deal to end a long-running dispute which led to the first all-out strike in the nearly 70-year history of the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Junior doctors, a term which covers recent medical school graduates right through to doctors who have been working for well over a decade, have staged a series of walkouts in a row over plans to bring in a new contract.

After talks at conciliation service Acas, a deal has been agreed which will be put to doctors and industrial action has been called off in the meantime.

Dr Johann Malawana, from the doctors' union the British Medical Association (BMA), said they had wanted a "safe and fair" contract which addressed a recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS and recognised their contribution. "I believe that what has been agreed today delivers on these principles, is a good deal for junior doctors and will ensure that they can continue to deliver high-quality care for patients," he said.

REUTERS