Statement re: Junior doctors’ proposed industrial action

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.

“We worked very hard to minimise disruption to patients during the previous days of industrial action in earlier this year. However, we are anticipating that next week’s action will have more of an impact because it involves a full junior doctors’ walkout involving services providing emergency care.

“Our main priority remains patient safety. We are continuing to plan 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.

“Unfortunately, we have had to postpone 262 outpatient appointments and 29 elective operations. We are directly contacting those patients affected. This is being done so we can make sure we can robustly provide care for those patients who urgently need it.

“Our advice is that patients should attend their appointment if they have one, unless contacted otherwise. We are working hard to reschedule patients affected for as soon as possible.

“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.

“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.”