Sheffield doctors set to strike

Day of action: Hospitals predict little impact.
Day of action: Hospitals predict little impact.

BUSINESS as usual - that is the message from South Yorkshire health bosses on the eve of the first doctors’ strike in 37 years.

The British Medical Association has called tomorrow’s day of action over government plans to shake up public-sector pensions.

But hospitals and community health managers say patients will hardly be affected - and have urged patients to attend appointments as normal unless they have been told otherwise - and urged them to not just turn up at A&E.

Doctors taking part in the action will provide urgent and emergency care, only cancelling routine consultations and elective procedures.

Doctors’ enthusiasm for industrial action, however, has been very low, and The Star reported yesterday that most routine services will be running as normal, with 60 per cent of GP surgeries open as usual and most hospitals barely affected.

Prof Mike Richmond, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Patients who have not been contacted should attend their appointment as planned.

“We are asking the public to plan ahead, choose the most appropriate care and do not come to A&E unless it is an emergency.”

Karen Curran, NHS South Yorkshire primary care lead, said: “Our message is check with your practice. Practices not operating as usual will still be providing urgent and emergency care. It is important patients do not turn up to hospitals for care that would be best treated by their GP.”

The BMA, in a full-page advert on page 17 of The Star today, said: “Doctors are being asked to work even longer, up to 68 years of age, and contribute even more, meaning doctors have to pay up to twice as much civil servants on the same pay for the same pension.”