Harrogate Hospital has confirmed that around 40 outpatient appointments have been re-arranged, but all surgical operations will go ahead as planned.
Junior doctors are striking today (12 January 2016) over plans by Government to change their employment contracts.
The changes would see a reduction in overtime-rate hours but an increase in base salary. Government say it is part of plans to deliver a true 7 day health care service, but doctors argue that it will cause longer work hours and place patients at risk.
Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said:
Like all NHS organisations, we have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions, including industrial action.
Our main priority remains patient safety. We are continuing to plan for the possibility of industrial action over the coming weeks and to ensure we robustly protect the safety and welfare of patients and ensure that services continue to be provided.
Patients in need of urgent and emergency care will continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it. However, due to increased pressures on services over this period, those in less urgent need of care may experience longer waiting times than normal. In all cases priority will be given to those patients with the most pressing health needs.
The proposed industrial action will affect our blood clinic service. We ask that patients who have been asked by their GP to come to hospital for a blood test consider coming on another day if at all possible. On the days of industrial action waiting times are likely to be very long.
Some outpatients clinics will be disrupted and we will be contacting individual patients directly if there are any changes. Our advice at the moment is that patients should attend their appointment if they have one.
At this point in time, elective operations planned in for the dates suggested for industrial action will be taking place as planned. If this changes we will communicate directly with those individuals affected.
People are also reminded of the other healthcare options available instead of calling 999 – such as visiting their pharmacist, calling NHS 111 or using NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk).
We have excellent relations with the trade unions that represent junior doctors within our organisation. We will continue to work constructively with them to maintain the safety and quality of patient care while facilitating the right of those staff who wish to take legal industrial action in relation to this national dispute regarding the introduction of a new contract.