Northampton General Hospital has cancelled a number of operations ahead of tomorrow’s strike by junior doctors but says some appointments will be reinstated if the action is called off.
Junior doctors have announced industrial action on three dates this month and February. The first is tomorrow from 8am until 8am on Wednesday. Cover will be provided for emergencies only.
Deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at NGH, Deborah Needham, said the priority was on keeping patients safe during the action.
“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,” she said.
“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. Anyone who has had an appointment cancelled will receive a letter this week.
“If you have a scheduled appointment or procedure planned for Tuesday, you should assume it is going ahead as normal if you do not receive a letter from us.”
Plans are in place if the industrial action is called off.
“In the event of the industrial action being called off, we will reinstate the majority of cancelled appointments. Following feedback from patients after last month’s cancelled strike, we recognise that many people would prefer to come in for their original appointment even at very short notice,” she said.
“However, this isn’t going to be practical for all appointments because of the degree of preparation involved in some cases, so it’s really important that patients who receive cancellation letters follow the instructions given in their letter about what to do if the industrial action is called off.
“If anyone is still unclear after reading their letter, they should contact the department or clinic direct using the number provided in their letter.
“We appreciate that for some people, work and personal commitments mean that they don’t have the flexibility to make arrangements at short notice so we’d like to reassure patients who can’t attend a reinstated appointment that they will be rescheduled as quickly as possible in line with our cancellation policy and won’t be classified as a non-attending patient.”