The government has ruled out further talks with the British Medical Association and says it has “no choice” but to continue with the imposition of a new contract.

This means that the first all-out strike by junior doctors in the history of the NHS is likely to go ahead on the 26th and 27th of April. These strikes are planned to include A&E and intensive care, which have so far not been part of the industrial action.

Dr Johann Malawana, the BMA’s junior doctors’ leader, has called future action “wholly avoidable” if the government is willing to “get back around the negotiating table”.

But government sources have reportedly told the BBC that the BMA has blown its chance of this happening through its unwillingness to compromise. 

In a statement, the department of health 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.”

The fresh sparks between the two sides follow the fourth walk-out by junior doctors this year, which took place for 48 hours starting on Wednesday.