‘Small number’ of appointments and operations will be cancelled if strike goes ahead

Hospitals are prepared for junior doctors strike.
Hospitals are prepared for junior doctors strike.

Hospital bosses will cancel a ‘small number’ of appointments and planned surgeries if tomorrow’s strike action goes ahead.

Chiefs at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans hospitals, say looking after ward patients and emergency cases will be the number one priority during the industrial action.

On Tuesday, junior doctors will only provide emergency care for 24-hours from 8am in their protest over proposed new contracts, which includes pay changes.

A trust spokesman said: “Having worked hard with our senior clinical leaders to put in place our business continuity plans, we’re pleased to report that the majority of our services will run tomorrow.

“However, we are asking patients to please bear with us if their care and treatment takes us more time than usual.

“We have written to a small number of patients apologising that if the strike goes ahead their appointments or planned surgery will be postponed for safety reasons.

“We also ask patients not to call us as we will be in touch to rearrange their appointments as soon as possible. Our website will remain updated.”

There are around 330 junior doctors based at the trust’s three hospital sites.

Tomorrow, across the country, up to 45,000 junior doctors will go on strike after three weeks of talks broke down between the British Medical Association and the government.

Among contract changes being proposed by the government is changes to the number of hours during the working week that are classed as unsociable and, therefore, are paid at a higher rate.

Further action is planned for January 26 and a full walk-out is proposed for Wednesday, February 10.

>Junior doctors earn a basic salary of £22,636 during their first year, rising to £28,076 in the second year but this is topped up by bonuses for working more than the basic 40 hours a week and/or work outside of the hours of 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday. The additional bonus is normally between 20 per cent and 50 per cent of the basic salary.

Junior doctors in specialist training receive a basic starting salary of £30,002.