More than 250 outpatient appointments and over 20 clinics have been cancelled at Lincolnshire’s hospitals as just under 100 junior doctors working in the county are expected to head out on strike on Tuesday, January 12.
As reported last week, junior doctors will stage their first walkout since November 1975 after failing to reach an agreement with 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.
Around 94 of the 470 junior doctors working in Lincolnshire are expected to head out on strike, as the rest are expected to provide an emergency service.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has been holding meetings in preparation for the strike in an attempt to limit any inconvenience to patients.
However, 257 outpatient appointments and 23 clinics have been cancelled due to the industrial action.
No operations have been cancelled and all emergency services will be maintained, as the strike focuses on elective or routine procedures.
Mark Brassington, Chief Operating Officer at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’ve written to all affected patients to inform them of changes to their appointments.
“If the strike is cancelled at the last minute, which appears unlikely, we’ve told patients to come in for their appointments and we’ll revert to normal practice.
“Plans are in place across all the sites to deal with the industrial action and we have held assurance meetings today, so we’re confident the day will pass without incident.
“If a major incident occurs, all 470 doctors are called back into work.”
Nick Parker, Secretary of Lincoln & District TUC, said that the organisation pledged its “full support” to the junior doctors taking the industrial action.
He said: “We pledge our full support to the junior doctors in their dispute with the government. The NHS is struggling as it is from the impact of cuts and privatisation, and attacking hard-working junior doctors will make this worse.
“Lincoln & District TUC would like to encourage all members of the public to put pressure on their elected representatives to call for the government to withdraw these plans and end this dispute.
“Solidarity with the junior doctors from Lincoln & District TUC and all its affiliates in their fight to defend our NHS.”
The British Medical Association will be holding a picket line from 8am outside Lincoln County Hospital.