A strike is starting this morning by junior doctors – a walkout described by their union as the longest in NHS history.

It’ll last for five days across England and is part of a long-running row by members of the British Medical Association over pay.

Health secretary Steve Barclay thinks demands of a 35% raise are unreasonable and that they risk fuelling inflation.

Tracey Moore, Chief Operating Officer at Kingston Hospital, said: “Our staff are working hard to minimise the disruption that these strikes will cause to care and treatment, however we are expecting the coming days to be challenging.

Some planned appointments and operations will need to be rescheduled, to allow us to ensure safe care continues to be available for those with urgent and life-threatening healthcare needs.

Waiting times in our Emergency Department will be longer than usual during the days of strike action and we will be prioritising patients based on the urgency of their clinical need – if we feel you could be seen elsewhere, we may redirect you.

We would like to apologise to our patients for the disruption we are expecting, and to thank them for their understanding.”

If people need medical help or advice or are unsure about whether they should go to hospital, 111.nhs.uk should be the first port of call. Call NHS 111 for advice on where to go and what to do next – a trained adviser will provide advice and the best care pathway.

During the strike action, people may be seen more quickly at Teddington Urgent Treatment Centre, which is open from 8am until 8pm (7 days a week).