Friday 24 May 2024
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Junior Doctors Strike: Hundreds of appointments to be cancelled at Nottinghamshire hospital

Appointments and procedures are expected to be cancelled or postponed at King’s Mill Hospital during next week’s junior doctors’ strike.

But patients with planned appointments at the hospital should attend “as planned” unless directly contacted ahead of the walkout.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust (SFH), which runs the hospital, says it is in the process of contacting all patients affected by the strike.

However, patients who do not receive a letter or contact from the trust have been told to attend their appointments as normal.

Junior doctors prepare to walk out for a second time in a matter of weeks in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

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Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) will strike for 96 hours between 6.59 am on Tuesday, April 11 and 6.59 am on Saturday, April 15.

It follows a similar three-day strike between March 13 and March 16 which led to disruption at the North Nottinghamshire NHS Trust.

SFH papers show the trust cancelled hundreds of appointments and elective procedures last month so staff could provide “safe urgent and emergency care”.

And the trust predicts next week’s walk-out will have a “greater” impact, with a larger number of cancellations likely.

It says it has plans in place for the strikes, with a message issued to the public during its board of directors meeting on Thursday (April 6).

Paul Robinson, the trust’s chief executive, thanked all staff who “helped, planned and maintained” services during last month’s action.

But he said: “We now face four days of further action next week.

“The timing, following the bank holiday weekend in the middle of the school holidays, obviously presents a greater challenge this time around.

“We remain confident we’ll be able to maintain our urgent care pathway.

“But the impact on patients will be greater, with more cancellations of elective treatments and appointments than we had experienced in March.

“Our message to the public is that, if you need medical help or advice, call NHS 111 unless it’s life-threatening or an emergency, then call 999.

“Patients should only call 999 and access A&E if it is an emergency, and if this is the case, I urge every patient to come forward as normal.”

He also confirmed some appointments and elective treatments will still be going ahead and urged people to attend unless they have been contacted.

“For those patients, if we have not contacted you, attend as normal and as planned,” he said.

On the wider strike action, he added in a report: “We recognise the importance of good pay and conditions in attracting and retaining good people.

“We hope to see an end to this national dispute as quickly and painlessly as possible.”

The BMA says the strikes follow the Government not making a “credible offer” over pay.

The union said its 36,000 members feel “overworked and undervalued” amid a reported real-terms 26 per cent pay cut over the past 15 years.

It has called for a pay settlement of 35 per cent to cover inflation and achieve “full pay restoration to reverse the steep decline” members have faced.

A spokesperson added: “We have no confidence that, without further action, these negotiations can be successful. 

“We are not going to stop until we are paid what we are worth.

“If ministers don’t accept that when we tell them in person, we will have to tell them from the picket line.”

A Government spokesperson said: “Our door remains open to constructive conversations, as we have had with other health unions, to find a realistic way forward which balances rewarding junior doctors for their hard work while being fair to the taxpayer.”

•  Health bosses message to Nottinghamshire residents as 4-day junior doctors strike looms

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