North Essex: Doctors’ in once in a generation industrial action

OPERATIONS and appointments will be cancelled in Colchester’s hospitals today, in the first doctors’ strike in 40 years.

Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) who are taking part in the industrial action have agreed to only carry out emergency treatment following a row over the Government’s pension reforms.

Yesterday, early reports from GP practices across Essex suggested that around 30% of practices would be striking but patients with urgent needs will still be treated.

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester General and Essex County Hospitals, said: “The Trust has been working closely with BMA representatives and we anticipate only a minimal impact on patients.

“Not all doctors are members of the BMA and those who are and who choose to take part in tomorrow’s industrial action will be at work providing urgent and emergency care.

“This means that, as well as A&E, our inpatient wards will be running as normal and any work connected to patients with cancer or suspected cancer, such as diagnostic tests, will continue in the usual way.

“Unfortunately, we have had to rearrange a small number of non-urgent operations and a small number of outpatient appointments.”

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Adrian Marr, Director of Resources at NHS North Essex said: “It is business as usual tomorrow in the NHS in north Essex. Most local doctors are working as normal. It is possible that some GP practices may take action as recommended by the BMA, but that includes making sure that patients with an urgent clinical need are seen and treated as normal. Your GP practice is still your first point of call.”