Junior doctors strikes will affect Doncaster services

Sewa Singh, Doncaster Royal Infirmary's new medical director
Sewa Singh, Doncaster Royal Infirmary's new medical director

A Doncaster health boss has admitted appointments will have to be cancelled when junior doctors go on strike.

Sewa Singh Medical Director at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust reassured patients that staff would work hard to avoid changes to services, but said junior doctors would only be dealing with emergencies.

He said:“Patients are our priority and plans are in place to ensure that disruption during the industrial action by junior doctors is minimised so we can continue to provide safe and effective services .We expect to provide a similar service to Christmas Day, with junior doctors covering only emergencies and caring for deteriorating or escalating patients.

“It will mean cancelling some appointments, clinics and elective operations and any patient whose treatment will be postponed due to the action will be contacted directly and made aware of the alternative arrangements.

“The dispute is not with the Trust and we respect the legal right of union members to take action following the ballot, however, our first duty is to provide for the safe and effective care of patients.”

The British Medical Association has called three-walkouts after talks between the British Medical Association (BMA), NHS Employers and Government officials failed to reach an agreement on the issue of weekend pay.

As a result, junior doctors will provide emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday January 12.

This will be followed by two further spells of strike action, with a 48-hour stoppage and the provision of emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday January 26.

On February 10, there will be a full withdrawal of services from 8am to 5pm. The BMA has agreed to further talks so there is the possibility that the strikes could be cancelled at the last minute.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:“Our priority is patient safety and making sure that the NHS delivers high-quality care seven days a week, and we know that’s what doctors want too, so it is extremely disappointing that the BMA have chosen to take industrial action which helps no one.

The action comes after the BMA agreed to cancel three strikes last month to re-enter talks with the government.

Several weeks of negotiations took place in the lead up to Christmas and then they reconvened on Monday January 4 for another attempt, when the walk-out was announced.