Healthcare trust to keep impact on services minimal throughout industrial action

Hospital bosses in North Devon say they have 'robust' plans in place ahead of series of planned strikes by junior doctors, which starts on Tuesday.

Senior clinicians at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple have been working with colleagues in Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay to ensure normal access to key services during walk-outs on December 1, 8 and 16.

They say some appointments or non-urgent operations may have to be postponed, but 24/7 emergency and urgent inpatient services will not be compromised.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust medical director, Dr George Thomson, said: "The Trust is experienced in ensuring our core emergency and urgent services continue during industrial action and we are thankful to our senior clinicians for their support in ensuring A&E, inpatient, maternity, intensive care and urgent care services will be unaffected by the strike action to ensure safe patient care is not compromised.

"Some appointments or non-urgent operations may have to be postponed and any patients affected will be notified in advance. We will do our best to ensure they are rebooked as soon as possible.

"We ask patients who have not been contacted directly by the service to rearrange to continue to attend their appointments as planned on these days."

Earlier this month, junior doctors voted overwhelmingly to walk out in protest over an 'unfair and unsafe' Government contract.

In a ballot of more than 37,000 junior doctors in England, organised by the British Medical Association, 98 per cent have voted in favour of full strike action.

On each of the days affected, real-time information on services will be available here.