The British Medical Association has called off further industrial action in protest over the new junior doctors contract on fears over patient safety.

The trade union had been planning three bouts of five-day walk-outs by junior doctors in the last three months of the year, but following feedback from doctors, patients, the public, and NHS England cancelled its plans.

There was growing criticism over the duration of the action, including from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which the government said would mean 100,000 cancelled operations.

"We still oppose the imposition of the contract and are now planning a range of other actions in order to resist it, but patient safety is doctors' primary concern and so it is right that we listen and respond to concerns about the ability of the NHS to maintain a safe service," said newly elected chair of the BMA junior doctor committee, Dr Ellen McCourt.

"We hope the government will seize this opportunity to engage with junior doctors and listen to the range of voices from across the NHS raising concerns about doctors' working lives and the impact of the contract on patient care. If the NHS cannot attract and keep those doctors on whose dedication and professional skills it relies, there will be no recognisable health service in England."

In a statement the Department of Health told the media: "The best way to rebuild trust now is for industrial action to be called off permanently in the interests of patients - and we urge the BMA to do so".