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Hospital chief: Strikes could affect waiting times

If there are more strikes by junior doctors it could affect waiting times for everybody, a hospital chief has warned.

Ipswich Hospital Chief Executive Nick Hulme said "care will always be safe" but "the overall effect of patients having to wait longer for operations or outpatients will have an effect on patient care".

Every time we have a strike it's more difficult, because those patients that we have to cancel we have to see at some point and clearly that cumulative effect of patients being cancelled will ultimately have an effect on waiting times for everybody.

– Nick Hulme

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Shadow health secretary: Strike is 'deeply disappointing'

Heidi Alexander Credit: PA

The shadow health secretary has urged Jeremy Hunt to negotiate with junior doctors and find a resolution to the dispute.

Heidi Alexander said the industrial action is "deeply disappointing" and the "sad truth is that it didn't have to come to this".

Today's industrial action is deeply disappointing, particularly for the patients who have had hospital treatment delayed because of it.

The sad truth is that it didn't have to come to this. Jeremy Hunt's handling of these negotiations has been a complete and utter shambles.

His comments over the past few weeks and months have caused widespread anger among junior doctors and left staff morale at rock bottom. We urgently need to see a resolution to this dispute, which doesn't involve imposing a new contract.

Jeremy Hunt needs to stop hiding behind his desk in the Department of Health and get back round the negotiating table.

– Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander

JK Rowling tweets support for junior doctors' strike

JK Rowling has tweeted support for the junior doctors' strike to her 6.7 million followers.

The best-selling author, who is married to a doctor, tweeted a picture of support along with the caption: "speaking as a doctor's wife".

Junior doctors told what to do in case of major emergency

Johann Malawana, chair of Junior Doctors Committee

Junior doctors have been told what to do if a trust declares a major emergency during the strike.

During the last junior doctors' strike, Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich declared a level 4 incident and told its junior doctors they must attend work.

As you know when we last took industrial action there was some confusion about when trusts could call junior doctors back into work.

In addition to the legal advice we took at that time we now have a joint letter signed by Sir Bruce Keogh of NHS England and the BMA's Mark Porter setting out the protocol should a major unpredictable incident occur.

– Johann Malawana, chair of Junior Doctors Committee

According to the letter, junior doctors can be requested to work if:

  • There is both "exception and sustained deterioration in performance such as to endanger patient safety and cannot be managed through the deployment of the hospital’s senior hospital doctors and the junior doctors providing emergency care".
  • The Trust must make a formal request to NHS England, who will then contact the BMA.

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'No BMA proposals could have resolved doctors dispute'

The government has not rejected any proposals from the British Medical Association that could have resolved the junior doctors' dispute, Department of Health sources have claimed.

ITV News Westminster Editor Samana Haq reports:

It comes after the BMA's junior doctors' committee chairman claimed the organisation had presented a "fully costed and working solution" that was rejected due to "pride and politics".

Junior doctors join the picket lines as strike begins

Junior doctors have joined the picket lines as they go on strike for 24 hours, forcing the cancellation of thousands of operations.

A picket line outside St Thomas' Hospital in London. Credit: PA
Junior doctors are on strike for 24 hours in a dispute with the government over new contracts. Credit: PA
Only emergency care will be provided during the 24-hour walkout. Credit: PA

NHS 'doing everything possible' to reduce impact of strike

Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England Credit: ITV News

The NHS is "doing everything possible to minimise the impact" of the junior doctors' strike, the national incident director for the NHS said.

The NHS is doing everything possible to minimise the impact of this regrettable strike which will delay care for thousands of patients at a time of year when service pressures across the health service are already at their highest.

We will monitor the situation across the country to ensure plans are in place, and people are ready to respond to any significant increases in pressure in any region over the period of this strike.

– Dr Anne Rainsberry, national incident director for NHS England

She said the NHS "anticipates around 2,800 operations will be cancelled".

She added: "To put that into context - on an average day the NHS does 31,000 operations so the vast majority will go ahead."

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