Junior doctors across south west London and north east Surrey protested in the freezing cold against new contracts they fear would endanger patients in the first doctors’ strike in 40 years on Tuesday.

Yesterday: Junior doctors' strike: live blog

Surrey Comet:

Epsom and St Helier junior doctor representative, Davey Thaxter (centre) leads the strike

Negotiations between the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS were unable to prevent doctors walking out of hospitals nationwide including Epsom, St Helier, St George's, Royal Marsden, Croydon and Kingston Hospital Hospitals from 8am on Tuesday, January 12 until 8am on Wednesday.

From yesterday: JUNIOR DOCTORS STRIKE 2016: The dispute explained - and poll

Frustrated junior doctors and health campaigners picketed outside hospitals while consultants, non-training doctors and junior doctors already scheduled as on-call provided emergency care until 8am on Wednesday.

Reporter Ben Weich joined protestors outside St Helier Hospital.

Passing motorists honked in support of about 30 striking doctors picketing outside as numb fingers struggled to grasp their placards in the biting cold, but a huge supply of tea and chocolate bourbons saw morale undimmed.

They were led by the guitar-wielding Davey Thaxter, the trust’s junior doctor BMA representative and Andrew Peetamsingh, a junior anaesthetist, in chants of "Save our NHS".

Surrey Comet:

The strike unfolding outside Kingston Hospital yesterday

Dr Thaxter worries contract negotiations are being rushed with junior doctors being forced to become consultants "as soon as possible"

He said: "Doctors and nurses already work extra hours and go the extra mile for their patients. It's stretched as it is.

"It's said doctors shouldn't be going on strike for the safety of their patients.

"But it's not a decision we took lightly and that shows how strongly people feel."

Surrey Comet:

Alex Trevatt, Sophie Herbert and Richard Sykes leading the protest outside St George's Hospital, Tooting

Krishna Sivakumaran, 27, from Putney Hill, Putney, is a second year doctor at St Helier Hospital.

He was not at the strike as he was sitting an exam.

He said: "I really do love my job and I’m grateful for that.

"But you do get tired, and if we are asked to work more hours, we will be more tired and make less good decisions."

Surrey Comet:

The strike outside St George's, in Tooting

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said in a statement: "Following the junior doctors’ ballot on industrial action, we wanted to assure local people that we are working hard to make sure any disruption to services is kept to a minimum, wherever possible.

"We are, as you would expect, taking the appropriate measures to ensure that services and the quality of patient care we provide are not comprised."

Surrey Comet:

They encouraged patients to check the website for more information about appointments.

A spokesperson for Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The safety of our patients is of course our top priority. 

“We have strong contingency plans in place although unfortunately this means we have had to cancel approximately 250 out-patient appointments and 17 planned procedures to ensure safe staffing levels are maintained during this time.”   

The BMA and NHS were due to begin negotiations this week ahead of further planned industrial action later this month.

Junior doctor strikes are also planned which will see emergency care only provided between 8am on Tuesday, January 26 and 8am on Thursday, January 28, before a full walk-out between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, February 10.