North Essex patients warned of possible cancelled procedures if junior doctor strike goes ahead
Patients due to have routine operations at north Essex hospitals next week are being contacted to warn them their procedure maybe cancelled if a strike by junior doctors goes ahead.
Staff at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital have been phoning patients due to have treatment on Tuesday.
Unless a deal is reached between the British Medical Association and the Government, junior doctors will only provide emergency care from 8am on Tuesday for 24 hours in a dispute over pay and contracts.
Around 50 patients scheduled to have a day case or inpatient procedure will be contacted before the weekend, and again on Monday or early on Tuesday with a confirmation.
Patients with an outpatient appointment during the strike period are asked to attend clinic as normal, unless the Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust contacts them.
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Dr Shane Gordon, chief operating officer, said the trust wanted the national dispute to be resolved before any industrial action takes place.
He said: “We appreciate headlines about a doctors’ strike are causing anxiety for patients who are expecting to come into hospital early next week.
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“That is why we’ve decided to go ahead now and contact those patients whose procedures are at risk rather than wait in the hope that this national dispute will be resolved and the industrial action called off.
“We don’t want any patient to wait any longer than is necessary, which is why we won’t take the final decision about what we have to postpone – hopefully nothing – until early next week.”
Dr Gordon said the trust was working with senior clinical staff, junior doctor representatives and the BMA to develop plans to minimise disruption to patients.
However, if industrial action goes ahead, the trust will have to postpone some outpatient clinics and non-urgent theatre lists to free up senior doctors, he added.
The trust carries out surgery and outpatient appointments at both Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, Colchester, and also provides outpatient services at the community hospitals in Clacton, Halstead and Harwich.