Consultant doctors' strike – Rotherham health bosses' warn of “Christmas Day service”

ROTHERHAM health bosses have warned of a “two-day Christmas Day service” during this week's consultant doctors' strike, saying the impact of the industrial action “will be felt by many patients".

Consultant doctors at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and across the country are taking industrial action from 7am today until 7am on Saturday.

It follows a five-day junior doctors' strike which ended earlier this week, prompting a Rotherham health boss to warn of an “extremely tough time for the NHS as a whole.”

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A trust spokesperson said: “During the strike, consultants will only provide staffing levels to cover emergency care, meaning the trust will experience a ‘Christmas Day service’ for two consecutive days.

“As the period of industrial action is immediately followed by a weekend, services are expected to be impacted for a number of days. 

“Unlike other staff groups, no other clinicians can provide cover for consultants, meaning any planned care which requires consultant supervision needs to be rescheduled.

“The trust has contacted patients directly to inform them if their appointment has been cancelled.”

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Throughout the strike, anyone needing emergency care should still call 999 or visit the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre.

For general health concerns which are not an emergency, the public are encouraged to use alternative services such as NHS 111 online, GPs or pharmacies.

Trust medical director Dr Jo Beahan said: “This is an extremely tough time for the NHS as a whole and we are grateful to patients for their understanding.

“Consultants work widely throughout the trust, and supervise the work of junior doctors, meaning the impact of this strike will be felt by many patients.

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“I encourage anybody who needs urgent care to still use our services.

“If urgent care isn’t needed, please consider alternatives as we are expecting long waits in our Urgent and Emergency Care Centre throughout the strike period and into the weekend.”

Consultants in England announced the industrial action after the government did not present them with “an offer that begins to reverse the 35 per cent pay erosion they have experienced,” a spokesperson for the British Medical Association said.

Earlier this week the BMA’s consultants' committee also announced further provisional strike dates on August 24 and 25.