Junior doctors in England have called off a two-day strike as union leaders continue talks with the government over a bitterly-disputed contract.

The strike, which was due to begin on Jan. 26, would have affected thousands of operations and procedures because doctors planned to provide emergency care only.

The dispute between the government and junior doctors — those who are training and have up to 10 years of experience — has escalated in recent months. Last week, about 50,000 doctors walked off the job in protest of government plans to change pay and work schedules.

Doctors say the changes would weaken restrictions on their working hours and so affect patient safety.

The British Medical Association said Tuesday "significant progress" is still needed to avoid a strike planned for Feb. 10.

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