Junior doctors are again set to strike over pay conditions and hours after talks with the government broke down.
A 24-hour walkout next Tuesday (January 12) will be followed by a 48-hour strike on January 26.
Junior doctors then plan to stage the first total walkout in the history of the NHS on February 10.
The majority of planned surgery will be cancelled on the four days, as well as outpatient appointments.
Consultants will reportedly be drafted in to help provide emergency care.
Health officials fear up to 100,000 operations could be cancelled in total.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said it was “extremely disappointing” that strike action was to go ahead.
She said: “Once again patients are being caught in the middle of this bitter dispute.”
She said the charity understood the concerns of junior doctors but added: “The short term impact that this strike will cause however is very worrying.
“Cancelled operations and reduced access to services will directly affect patients, leaving many at risk. All parties in the dispute must remember that their primary duty is to patients.”
Junior Doctors were initially expected to take strike action at the beginning of December last year, when 37,000 medics balloted to strike.
The strike action was called off at the eleventh hour however, was tabled to a later date.
'The fight is with the government, not with patients'
BMA chief Dr Mark Porter said the union had been left with no choice but to move towards industrial action as despite the weeks of negotiations the government still was not taking their concerns “seriously”.
He said: “We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long-term that we are taking this stand.”
GP registrar at Northwick Park Hospital , Bea Bakshi, said their fight is with the government, not patients.
She said: “The strike action next Tuesday means that all emergency services will still run as normal, but routine procedures will be cancelled.
“Our strike will involve local picketing at hospitals, with protesting and demonstrations engaging with the public.
“Our main concerns are that the government doesn’t recognise the hours we do, including weekends that have a significant impact on our work-life balance.
“We are really hoping that before the 48-hour strike happens, something changes. Hopefully talks will be successful and hopefully we can avoid strike action.
“The fight is with the government, not with patients, we are trying to protect our working hours so we don’t make mistakes as they are the ones that are suffering.”
Junior doctors previously marched on Westminster last October, against pay conditions and hours.