The British Medical Association (BMA) are urging doctors to vote in favour of industrial action for the first time in 37 years.
Although the BMA have ruled out complete strike action, and there will be no total withdrawal of labour, the ballot will ask both if the doctors are willing to take part in a strike, or if they are willing to take only in action that is short of a strike.
Chairman of the BMA Council, Dr Hamish Meldrum, has said:
The ballot opens just days after 35,000 police officers marched in central London on May 10 against proposed cuts to their budget that would result in job losses for 16,000 people. Hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers took industrial action on the same day up and down the country against increases to their pension payments, and the raising of retirement age.
[Photograph shows Dr Hamish Meldrum, BMA Council Chairman]