Strikes postpone hundreds of medical appointments at Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester Hospitals

Junior Doctors Laura Kessack and Tony Ng along with Nurses Sarah Barber, Naomi Muncaster and Elaine

Junior Doctors Laura Kessack and Tony Ng along with Nurses Sarah Barber, Naomi Muncaster and Elaine Patten give out flyers and talk with members of the public. - Credit: Su Anderson

Hospitals across Suffolk and north Essex have apologised to patients after revealing that more than 400 medical appointments or procedures have been postponed or cancelled due to strike action.

The region’s junior doctors are striking for 48 hours until Friday after last-ditch talks over their contracts broke down in February.

And as a result of the action, a total of 351 outpatient appointments, 59 day care and inpatient operations and ten cardiac procedures have been postponed across Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk hospitals. All were scheduled to take place on today and tomorrow.

Deputy chief operating officer Batsi Katsande at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said all affected patients had been offered alternative dates.

“We deeply regret having to postpone any activity and are sorry about the anxiety it will cause,” he said. “However, the safety of our patients is our top priority and postponing a limited amount of activity frees up senior doctors to do the work usually carried out by the juniors.”

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The hospital cancelled 25 day case operations, 36 outpatient clinics and ten inpatient operations.

Ipswich Hospital postponed 231 appointments, ten cardiac procedures but no operations.

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A spokesman said: “We are thrilled that we haven’t had to postpone any operations.”

Eighty-four appointments and 24 operations have been postponed across the two days at West Suffolk Hospital.

Deputy chief operating officer Helen Beck said: “Our focus at all times has been on continuing to provide safe, effective care with minimal disruption for patients.”

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