34 operations cancelled at Northampton General Hospital due to 24-hour strike

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Almost 200 appointments and 34 operations have been postponed at NGH as a result of today’s strike by junior doctors.

Countrywide industrial action by junior doctors has begun and will last until 8am tomorrow (Thursday), during which time they will provide cover for only for emergencies.

Deborah Needham, chief operating officer at NGH, said: “Our priority during the industrial action is to keep our patients safe and so our focus will be on those departments and wards where patients have the greatest need of care.

“Patients who need emergency treatment will be seen and treated as quickly as possible. However, those in less urgent need of care may experience longer waiting times than normal. If you have a minor injury or illness, or you’re not sure where to go for treatment, please call NHS111 for advice.

“We have taken the decision to cancel some appointments and less urgent operations and we have sent letters by first class post to affected patients. A total of 233 appointments have been cancelled.”

Anyone with a scheduled appointment or procedure planned for Wednesday should assume it is going ahead as normal unless they have received a letter from NGH.

If anyone is still unclear after reading their letter, they should contact the department or clinic direct using the number provided in their letter.

People affected won’t be classified as a non-attending patient.

The dispute is between doctors and the Government, which has offered them a new contract.

It included an 11 per cent rise in basic pay for junior medics, but the definition of unsociable hours would change.

As a result, one per cent of doctors who work a lot of extra hours that attract higher rates of pay could lose out (and some doctors fear exhausting new work schedules).

But the changes would make it cheaper, and therefore easier, for hospitals to put on extra doctors at weekends.

Whether this is actually necessary is disputed. The Government points to figures showing there are currently more deaths at weekends in hospitals, but some doctors say people admitted on Saturdays and Sundays tend to be more ill to begin with.