Patients urged to use services 'wisely' during industrial action

Rotherham health bosses are advising patients to use services “wisely” during planned industrial action by consultants and junior doctors.

The first ever co-ordinated strike will see consultants providing 'Christmas Day' cover – an emergency care only level of service – on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday, September 20.

Junior doctors will also provide Christmas Day cover on Wednesday, September 20, followed by a full walk-out from Thursday until 7am on Saturday, September 23.

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The strikes follow five days of industrial action by junior doctors last month as well as in July.

The British Medical Association said junior doctors were taking action to achieve "full pay restoration. “

Consultant doctors walked out for three days last month, and previously undertook a 48-hour period of industrial action in July, with the BMA calling the government's proposed pay award of less than 6 per cent for consultants “insulting”.

Christmas Day cover means many planned appointments will be rescheduled with affected patients contacted directly and the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre is “likely to be very busy.”

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“Emergency care will be available, but it’s vital that people use these services wisely,” said Dr Jo Beahan, medical director at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

“We are working hard to ensure our patients continue to receive the care they need, when they need it.

“Anybody who needs urgent care should still use our services.

“However, if urgent care is not needed, I strongly encourage the public to use alternatives such as NHS 111, GPs and local pharmacists.”

Further coordinated industrial action by consultants and junior doctors is planned next month.