British doctors on Wednesday voted to take industrial action for the first time in nearly four decades.
They are angry at proposed reforms to their pensions.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government wants public sector workers to pay more towards their pensions.
The changes would see civil servants work longer and retire on a “career average” salary pension scheme, instead of a final salary one.
Hamish Meldrum, the chair of the British Medical Association’s ruling council, said the industrial action was justified.
“We hope that the public will realise that doctors are not asking for any preferential treatment, they’re only asking for fair treatment,” he said.
The day of action will take place on June 21, with doctors only treating urgent and emergency cases.
Andrew Lansley, Britain’s health secretary, said patients could be put in danger by the move.
“The care of patients is not simply a function of emergency and urgent care, it’s a function of which pace they receive access to routine care and if the BMA, through any action of this kind, leads to delay in patients care – there is a risk to patients,” he said.
The last time British doctors refused to provide non emergency care was in 1975.
Medics have also refused to rule out further industrial action this year.