NHS consultants walked out today and will be joined tomorrow by their junior counterparts, as they seek better pay from the government.
The industrial action will see doctors delivering ‘Christmas Day levels of staffing’ with NHS Dorset stating that ‘some appointments and surgeries may be postponed’.
A spokesperson from Dorset County Hospital said: “The consultants and junior doctors at Dorset County Hospital are vital for patient care and the running of our services.
“During industrial action, some medically-led activity will be postponed to ensure that we can provide safe emergency and inpatient care. Patients will hear directly from us if we have to rearrange their appointment.”
They added: “No-one should put off seeking urgent or emergency care during the strikes and people with serious, life-threatening conditions will continue to be seen at our Emergency Department (ED). However, please keep 999 and ED clear for life-threatening emergencies.”
Junior doctors will continue to strike up until Friday, September 22, with consultants back at work on Thursday 21. Both sets of medical practitioners will also be on strike from October 2 until October 4.
Strike action is now in its tenth month with 885,000 in and outpatient appointments rescheduled nationwide, with 45,800 appointments disrupted due to consultant strikes in August.
NHS national medical director professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “The NHS has simply never seen this kind of industrial action in its history. This week’s first ever joint action means almost all planned care will come to a stop, and hundreds of thousands of appointments will be postponed, which is incredibly difficult for patients and their families, and poses an enormous challenge for colleagues across the NHS.
“We’re very grateful to the public for using the NHS wisely during this period when we will be prioritising emergency care. In a life-threatening situation, use 999 and A&E as normal, but for everything else, use 111 online or use services in the community which are largely unaffected, like GPs and pharmacies. Patients who have an appointment and who haven’t been contacted should attend as normal.”
Professor Phil Banfield, chair of BMA council, said: “This week’s industrial action comes as a result of this government failing to address the unprecedented staffing crisis that is engulfing our NHS, and betraying the doctors who they applauded through the pandemic, by failing to value the work they now do to help the NHS back into its feet.
“The only route to ending these strikes is for the Government to drop its opposition to negotiating a new pay deal and get round the table with doctors with a credible offer. Rather than focusing on strike days, ministers should be looking to make sure that our health service is safely staffed for 365 days a year.”