Jeremy Hunt has referred to the decision made by junior doctors to strike on February 10 “disappointing.”

The strike will go ahead after contract negotiations with the government broke down, the British Medical Association (BMA) announced yesterday (Monday).

In a letter addressed to BMA Council Chair Mark Porter, the health secretary said he was sorry to learn the strike action would go ahead, which will inevitably cause disruption for patients and procedures cancelled.

January 13: In pictures: Junior doctors across south west London and north Surrey join in nationwide strike​

January 19: Second junior doctors strike called off

Mr Hunt said: “The Government and NHS Employers made a significant offer on the extent of plain time and stood ready to discuss these matters and it is very disappointing that the BMA felt unable to negotiate.

“As you know, our clear objective – and one which doctors share – is to improve the standard of care for patients at weekends.”

Mr Hunt added that he hoped a new contract would be delivered as soon as possible, for the benefit of the health service.

A BMA spokesman said rather than a full walkout, the action will mirror that of January 12.

He said: “Junior doctors in England will be offering emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am on Wednesday 10 February to 8am Thursday 11 February."

A second strike due to take place at the end of January was called off by the BMA to re-enter negotiations.

The BMA has criticised the new contracts on offer from the Department of Health as "unsafe".

At the time the second strike was withdrawn, a Department of Health spokesman said: "In the end, the government and junior doctors want to do the same thing by improving patient care at weekends – and we look forward to further constructive discussions."