AUDIO: Doctors go on strike again

AUDIO: Doctors go on strike again

Published at 6:02am 10th February 2016. (Updated at 7:45pm 10th February 2016)

Junior doctors across Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale have started another 24-hour strike.

It's part of a long-running row with the Government over plans to introduce a new contract.

The main sticking point concerns weekend pay and whether Saturdays should be considered an ordinary day of the week, or a day when overtime should be paid.

The Department of Health says the industrial action is "completely unnecessary" and "very disappointing".

Doctor Deborah Goldfield, who works at Harrogate District Hospital, has been outlining her concerns:

How Harrogate is affected

Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Like all NHS organisations, we have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions, including industrial action.

"We worked hard to minimise disruption to patients during the previous day of industrial action in January, and we expect this week to be broadly similar, given the action being taken is the same.

"Our main priority remains patient safety. We are continuing to plan to ensure we robustly protect the safety and welfare of patients and ensure that services continue to be provided.

"Patients in need of urgent and emergency care will continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it. However, due to increased pressures on services over this period, those in less urgent need of care may experience longer waiting times than normal. In all cases, priority will be given to those patients with the most pressing health needs.

"Some outpatients clinics will be disrupted and we are contacting individual patients directly if there are any changes. Our advice at the moment is that patients should attend their appointment if they have one.

"At this point in time, elective operations planned in for 10 February will be taking place as planned. If this changes, we will communicate directly with those individuals affected.

"We have excellent relations with the trade unions that represent junior doctors within our organisation. We will continue to work constructively with them to maintain the safety and quality of patient care, while facilitating the right of those staff who wish to take legal industrial action in relation to this national dispute regarding the introduction of a new contract."

How Craven is affected

Around 85% of junior doctors at Airedale General Hospital are taking part in the strike.

Two operations/procedures have been cancelled, along with 26 outpatient clinic appointments.

Any urgent or fast-track patients with appointments have been seen.

Stacey Hunter, Director of Operations at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Patient safety is our priority and we have worked with our staff, including consultants, nurses, other health professionals and union representatives, to ensure high-quality and safe care and welfare can be maintained.

"There has been a need to rearrange a small number of our planned activities such as outpatient appointments and non-emergency operations. All urgent and emergency care is still going ahead. We have contacted anyone whose appointment or operation has been affected and will do our best to reschedule these as soon as possible."

How Wharfedale is affected

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has written to a small number of patients to advise that their outpatient appointments will be affected by the strike.

Urgent and emergency services will continue as normal, as will most routine outpatient appointments and operations.

Mr David Berridge, Medical Director (Operations), said: "We have robust plans in place to ensure our hospitals provide safe and effective services during the strike period and patients can be safely looked after.

"During the last strike, we know some patients were confused by media reports about the impact of the strike nationally and thought they would not be able to attend as normal. This means some people did not attend on the day, needlessly delaying their treatment.

"I would stress that unless a patient has specifically heard from us, then they will be seen as normal, so please attend."

Hospital bosses are urging everyone to make use of other healthcare options wherever possible, such as visiting a GP or pharmacist, calling NHS 111 or using the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk

junior doctors strike

Junior doctors on strike at Airedale General Hospital