Junior doctor strike last week led to almost 500 appointments cancelled at Harrogate hospital

Last week’s junior doctor’s strike led to 470 appointments and 21 operations being cancelled and rescheduled at Harrogate District Hospital.
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It was the second round of industrial action undertaken by members of the British Medical Association union this year and saw junior doctors strike over pay for an unprecedented four days.

Nationally, it’s estimated over 190,000 appointments had to be cancelled last week.

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Junior doctors are qualified doctors in clinical training and they make up nearly half of the medical workforce in England.

The junior doctor strike last week led to almost 500 appointments cancelled at Harrogate District HospitalThe junior doctor strike last week led to almost 500 appointments cancelled at Harrogate District Hospital
The junior doctor strike last week led to almost 500 appointments cancelled at Harrogate District Hospital

A Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson described what impact the strikes had at the Lancaster Park Road hospital.

They said: “During the recent junior doctors’ industrial action, our focus was to maintain safe patient care and ensure emergency services would continue to operate.

“A number of clinical colleagues were freed up from activities, such as outpatient clinics and theatre sessions, to support emergency cover of our wards and departments which were impacted by the strike.

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“Some planned, non-urgent treatment, including 470 outpatient appointments and 21 elective operations, needed to be rescheduled.

"The postponed appointments and treatments are being rescheduled as a priority so that that our patients can be seen as soon as possible.

“We appreciate this situation is frustrating for those affected and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The British Medical Association says while workload and waiting lists are at record highs, junior doctors’ pay has effectively been cut by more than a quarter since 2008.

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It is asking for a pay-rise of 35 per cent, which it says will reverse 15 years of real-term cuts.

A BMA spokesperson said: “If junior doctors are forced out of the NHS because of poor pay and conditions, the services we all rely on to look after our loved ones will suffer.”

Health secretary Steve Barclay said the number of cancelled appointments and operations last week was “deeply disappointing”.

He said: “We remain ready to start formal talks with the BMA as soon as the union pauses its strikes and moves significantly from its unrealistic position of demanding a 35 per cent pay increase – which would result in some junior doctors receiving a pay rise of £20,000.”

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Nurses at Harrogate District Hospital are set to take part in two days of industrial action over the upcoming May bank holiday.

The strike will take place from 8pm on Sunday, April 30 till 8pm on Tuesday, May 2.

Unlike the two previous Royal College of Nursing (RCN) strikes at the hospital on Lancaster Park Road this year, it will involve nurses working in emergency departments, intensive care, cancer and other wards.