June 23, 2023 9.00 am This story is over 9 months old

Junior doctor strike: Over 1000 Lincolnshire appointments cancelled

The BMA walked out for 72 hours over pay

By Local Democracy Reporter

Patients under Lincolnshire trusts had more than 1000 appointments and 50 operations cancelled as a result of the recent junior doctors strike.

The 72-hour industrial action saw members of the British Medical Association walk out between June 14 and 17, demanding fairer pay.

Hospitals say they’re working hard to reschedule the appointments and operations which were cancelled.

United Lincolnshire Health Trust reported 39 planned operations, according to NHS data, and 371 outpatient appointments had to be rearranged across its sites

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole moved 20 inpatient operations and 643 outpatient appointments. LPFT also saw a small number of cancellations.

Nearly 70,000 doctors went on strike in England, with 306 in NLaG. ULHT said there were 60% less doctors available.

Michelle Harris, Chief Operating Officer at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Like all other NHS organisations nationally, our hospitals were significantly impacted by the industrial action taken by junior doctors.

“We give our thanks to colleagues who supported us to maintain safety for our patients, services and working environments during this time. With their help and with some locum doctor cover, our challenges still included a doctor shortfall of approximately 60% when compared to our usual staffing levels.

“Cancelling patient appointments is not a decision we take lightly and we are sorry to those who have been affected. Our booking teams are now working exceptionally hard to re-book everything that has been cancelled, and to get people back in as quickly as possible.”

Shaun Stacey, NLaG Interim Chief Executive, said: “Unfortunately we had to postpone some appointments and procedures during the industrial action for which I would like to apologise.

“Ensuring the safety of our most vulnerable patients was our main focus so we prioritised urgent and emergency care and deployed our staff to areas of critical need such as our emergency departments, high dependency units and intensive care. Unfortunately, this did mean some routine and planned care had to be postponed and we are working to get patients re-booked as soon as possible.

“The well laid plans we put in place to maintain services during the strike worked well and I would like to thank all of our staff for their hard work and dedication which has continued to keep our patients safe.

“We appreciate those in our local communities who used our services wisely during this period.”

Dr Girish Kunigiri, Medical Director at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) said: “We’d like to thank our staff for supporting each other throughout the strike period. Colleagues and teams from across our Trust worked together to ensure services ran smoothly and to keep disruption to our patients to a minimum.

“We only needed to reschedule a very small number of appointments – all who were contacted in advance and appointments rebooked as soon as possible.”

The BMA say their members have received a 26% real term pay cut since 2008, and the government’s recent offer of a 5% increase wasn’t sufficient.

More action is expected to be held in July if an agreement isn’t reached.

Staff on the picket line at Lincolnshire County Hospital said the strike was a lost resort to get the government to listen.

Foundation year one doctor Becky Bates claimed the NHS is “haemorrhaging” doctors as a result of low pay.