Government negotiators will sit down with British Medical Association (BMA) officials again tomorrow for last-ditch efforts to reach an agreement that would head off a strike by junior doctors over pay and working conditions.
A third day of talks between the Department of Health, NHS Employers and the BMA, hosted by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) concluded on Saturday without resolution.
Doctors are poised to take action on three days, providing emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am on Tuesday followed by full walkouts from 8am to 5pm on December 8 and 16.
The move would cause mass disruption to the NHS, with hospitals forced to cancel outpatient clinics and non-urgent operations.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt previously refused to agree to discussions unless BMA officials came to the negotiating table first, but changed his mind on Wednesday when he told BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter "any talks are better than strikes".
A BMA spokeswoman said: "Strike action is still planned for Tuesday, and talks will carry on on Monday."