Patients in Mansfield and Ashfield face day of medical disruption as junior doctors say they have no option but to strike tomorrow

Kings Mill Hospital.
Kings Mill Hospital.

The junior doctors strike planned for tomorrow is now almost certainly going ahead as crisis talks between government health chiefs and the British Medical Association enter their final day.

The declaration came in a letter sent to the association’s members, ahead of the last day of talks with health officials.

The BMA and health officials have been locked in talks with conciliation service Acas since Thursday, with behind the scene discussions running over the weekend in a frantic bid to make progress.

But a 24-hour hour strike is due to start at 8am on Tuesday

Striking doctors will also be forming picket lines outside King’s Mill Hospital from around 9am tomorrow.

A statement for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill, reads: “Members of the public should be assured that the safety and welfare of patients is our utmost priority and that emergency services at King’s Mill Hospital and Newark Hospital are anticipated to run as normal on December 1 2015, during the national day of action by junior doctors.

“The trust has tried and tested plans in place at the hospitals to deal with a range of disruptions, including industrial action.

“Patients in need of emergency care will continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it. However, those in less urgent need of care may experience longer waiting times than normal.”

But the trust said that booked appointments and admissions at all its hospitals are likely to be seriously affected.

Members of the public that are due to attend an appointment on 1 December should continue to attend the hospital, unless they are notified beforehand advised them that their appointment has been cancelled.

Doctors are set to take action on three days over pay and working conditions, providing emergency-only care for 24 hours from 8am on Tuesday.

The trust currently employs 202 junior doctors, ow which 28 will be working in A&E throughout tomorrow. The remainder are expected to man picket lines at King’s Mill and Mansfield Community Hospital.

Staff will be redeployed to meet demand and the trust is aiming for all scheduled operations to go ahead as planned.

A spokesman said that anyone whose operation has been cancelled should already been been notified, and are asking people with procedures planned for tomorrow to come in if they have not been told otherwise.

This will be followed by full strikes from 8am to 5pm on December 8 and 16, with Army medics poised to be drafted in to provide cover if the stoppages go ahead.

One junior doctor based at King’s Mill who will be taking part in in the industrial action said: “Due to Jeremy Hunt’s intransigence over the junior doctor’s contract, we, as members of the BMA feel that we have had no other option but to strike against a contract that we believe will affect patient safety and cause more doctors to leave the NHS.”