Hospitals prepare for first ever full walk-out of doctors in history

Junior Doctors strike outside the Royal Free Hospital 06.04.16.

Junior Doctors strike outside the Royal Free Hospital 06.04.16. - Credit: Archant

The Royal Free and Whittington hospitals are preparing for the first ever full walk-out of junior doctors as the dispute over contract changes remains unresolved.

Junior Doctors strike outside the Whittington Hospital 06.04.16.

Junior Doctors strike outside the Whittington Hospital 06.04.16. - Credit: Archant

Junior doctors are withdrawing all care, including on-call emergency cover, from 8am until 5pm today and tomorrow.

The Whittington Hospital released a statement saying: “We would like to reassure all our patients that we will continue to provide urgent and emergency care throughout the planned strikes.

“Since this latest announcement our teams have been working closely to make sure that we have an effective plan in place to protect patient safety and care whilst enabling our junior doctor colleagues to express their legitimate concerns through industrial action.

“We will have safe levels of staffing throughout our emergency and urgent care services during the industrial action and will not require any additional agency support.

“As at any time, we will do our best to minimise waiting time for patients in our emergency department. To help reduce waiting times during industrial action we will have all our consultants, specialist nurses and pharmacy staff on site to provide additional support.”

The Whittington has cancelled 180 outpatient appointmets over the two days and The Royal Free Trust has postponed 325 clinics and procedures.

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A spokesman from the Royal Free said: “While we are working hard to ensure cancellations are kept to a minimum, the nature of this industrial action means we have had to cancel more appointments than during previous strikes.

“We have put plans in place to enable us to deliver safe services for patients during the strike action. The emergency departments at the Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital and the urgent care centre at Chase Farm Hospital will be open.

“We are covering most roles in A&E with consultants and other senior clinical staff but are also bringing in other specialists from areas such as paediatrics, acute medicine and surgery, as all elective work has been cancelled for the duration of the strike.”

Junior doctors will be joined with other campaign groups on the picket lines outside the hospitals from 8am today.