Disruption after strike U-turn at Doncaster hospital

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

A Doncaster hospital was forced to cancel the operations of 19 patients despite a strike by junior doctors being called off at the 11th hour.

A temporary agreement reached on Monday night between Government officials, the British Medical Association and NHS Employers meant a 24-hour strike on Tuesday did not go ahead as planned.

But health bosses in Doncaster confirmed 19 patients set to have operations at Doncaster Royal Infirmary on Tuesday were unable to have the procedures as a result.

Operations at Bassetlaw and Mexborough Montagu hospital were unaffected.

A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals said: “Patients are our priority and our planning and preparation for the proposed junior doctors’ industrial action meant that disruption was kept to a minimum.

“We planned to provide a similar service to that provided on Christmas Day, with junior doctors covering only emergencies and caring for deteriorating or escalating patients.

“This meant that the numbers of cancelled operations on December 1 were low, with 19 patients being cancelled at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and none at our Bassetlaw or Montagu Hospital sites.”

Across the country, thousands of patients were unable to undergo operations or attend appointments on Tuesday alone despite strike action being called off.

The decision to suspend the strikes only came on Monday night – just hours before the first walk-out was due to begin at 8am on Tuesday.

A snapshot survey of almost 20 NHS trusts revealed around 600 operations and procedures were cancelled alongside around 3,500 outpatient appointments.

This represents less than a fifth of the trusts across England.

Two more walk-outs planned for later in December have also been suspended.

A statement from Acas makes it clear it is only a temporary move giving the BMA until January 13 to start industrial action if the next round of talks does not reach a permanent deal.

The initial row between junior doctors and the government erupted over a new contract that includes an 11 per cent pay rise but cuts to other elements of the pay package, including unsociable hours payments.

Talks broke down last year but the dispute has escalated in recent weeks after ministers said the deal would be brought in next summer.