The trust in charge of Lincolnshire’s hospitals has admitted that “a small number of clinics” will be cancelled as junior doctors are set to go out on strike next week.
Junior doctors will stage their first walkout since November 1975 in protest at Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed changes to their contracts.
The first in a planned series of three strikes will see around 45,000 junior doctors in England providing only emergency cover for 24 hours from 8am on January 12, leading to a much reduced level of operation.
A second strike lasting 48 hours will be held from 8am on Tuesday, January 26, and the first all-out junior doctors’ strike in NHS history is scheduled for between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, February 10.
At this stage, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is unsure on the number of junior doctors preparing to take part in the industrial action on Tuesday.
The trust has been holding meetings this week in preparation for the strike in an attempt to limit any inconvenience to patients.
The disruption is likely to be similar if not worse to the strike which was called off on December 1, when the trust cancelled over 400 appointments and two operations.
Mark Brassington, Chief Operating Officer at ULHT, said that the trust had robust plans in place for this walkout.
He said: “We have plans in place for the strike action on January 12 to make sure services continue to run safely and as smoothly as possible, and to protect the safety and welfare of all our patients.
“Our plans are robust and will prioritise patients with the greatest health needs and emergency care.
“If the strike goes ahead, we will have to cancel a small number of clinics at Pilgrim, Lincoln, Skegness and Spalding hospitals. However, the majority of clinics and all operations will not be affected.
“We will attempt to contact every patient whose appointment is cancelled and to re-book.
“Any patient who is not contacted should attend their appointment as planned.
“If the strike is called off, we ask patients to attend their appointments as originally planned.
“For the latest information see our website and local media on the day.
“All of our emergency care services will be 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.”
Are you a junior doctor going on strike in Lincoln next week? Get in touch with your views by emailing [email protected]