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Horse-rider left with serious head injuries after Littletown incident

Police are appealing for witnesses after an incident in Littletown, between Durham and Easington, which left a horse rider with serious head injuries.

A 45-year-old woman from Low Pittington was riding her horse with a friend who was riding another horse. As the two women approached Coalford Lane (with a single lane track leading to Coalford Lane Farm) at 11am on January 24, they had to wait for a car to clear the track and then turn onto the main road.

At this point a second car had pulled up behind them on Coalford Lane.

As the first car cleared the area the second vehicle started to accelerate away, causing the two horses to bolt. One of the horses then bolted for a second time, throwing the rider to the ground. The woman is recovering at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.

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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
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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.

Junior doctors strike outside Newcastle's RVI

Credit: ITV

Junior Doctors across the region are striking after talks with the Government failed to reach an agreement. These pictures were taken by one of our reports outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The action is part of an ongoing row with the Government over contract conditions.

Credit: ITV

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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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