Over 400 appointments cancelled at Lincolnshire hospitals as doctors call off strike

Hundreds of appointments and two operations have been cancelled at Lincolnshire’s hospitals, despite junior doctors calling off a 24-hour strike at the eleventh hour.

The planned walkout on December 1 was averted after a temporary agreement was reached between government officials, NHS Employers, which represents trusts, and the British Medical Association (BMA) doctors’ union.

Two further strikes planned for later this month have also been suspended.

The last-minute deal came too late for many hospitals across the country, including in Lincolnshire, who had already cancelled appointments and operations.

Over 400 appointments at hospitals in Lincolnshire have been rescheduled by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, with two operations cancelled.

Nationally, about 600 operations and procedures planned for Tuesday were cancelled, alongside about 3,500 outpatient appointments, according to a snapshot survey of almost 20 NHS trusts by the Press Association.

Junior doctors had planned their walkout in response to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed changes to their contracts.

A spokesperson for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said: “We have worked closely as a health network to ensure services continue to run safely and as smoothly as possible, and to protect the safety and welfare of all our patients.

“Patient safety is our priority. Our plans are robust and will prioritise patients with the greatest health needs and emergency care. We aim to keep disruption to patients to a minimum.

“We have cancelled a small number of clinics, inpatient and day case operations at some of our hospitals and at services run by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as a result of the industrial action.

“Any patient whose appointment has been cancelled will be contacted and re-booked as soon as possible. Any patient who is not contacted should attend their appointment as planned.

“All of our emergency care services are running as usual, but members of the public are reminded to only attend A&E if it is a genuine emergency and to consider alternative options for minor ailments, such as visiting your pharmacist, walk in centre or urgent care centre.”