Doctors’ strike will not hit urgent operations at Pilgrim

EMERGENCY operations and procedures will still be taking place at Pilgrim Hospital on tomorrow (Thursday) – despite a planned strike by doctors.

Bosses at United Lincolnshire Hopsital Trust (ULHT), which runs the Sibsey Road site, said that important and urgent procedures will not be affected by the 24-hour industrial action, but conceded that some non-emergency appointments may have to be cancelled or postponed.

It is not yet known how GP surgeries in Boston will be affected by the British Medical Association action, which is the first of its kind in around 40 years.

A spokesman for ULHT told The Standard: “ULHT is working with the Department of Health, health partners in Lincolnshire, the British Medical Association and staff to plan services for Thursday June 21 in light of the proposed industrial action. Doctors taking industrial action on the day will still come into work and all emergency and urgent work will go ahead.”

The trust will be applying lessons learned during public sector strikes in November, which saw NHS staff taking action against pensions and working terms and conditions, he added.

Patients whose appointments have ben cancelled will have been contacted about the change, and the trust is advising that anyone who has not been contacted should attend the hospital as normal.

BMA members have voted to strike over what has been termed as ‘unfair changes’ to the NHS pension scheme.

BMA council chairman Hamish Meldrum said: “We know that doctors are making huge efforts to plan ahead and ensure patient safety is not affected by the day of action.

“Doctors did not want this. We wanted the government to reopen talks on a fairer pensions deal, and it is their refusal to do so that left us with no option but, reluctantly, to take industrial action.”

Health minister Andrew Lansley has condemned the strikes, challenging doctors to make sure patient safety is not put at risk as a result of the industrial action, which was balloted at the end of May, when 100,000 doctors voted.