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Doctors to stage a 24-hour strike

First published in News

NON-urgent appointments and operations at the Royal Bolton Hospital are set to be cancelled after doctors said they would stage a 24-hour walkout.

Medics will take industrial action on Thursday, June 21, in protest at the Government’s controversial pension reforms.

The British Medical Association said it was taking action “very reluctantly” but attacked the Government for going back on a deal on pensions agreed four years ago.

The move followed a big vote in favour of action by doctors.

The BMA said doctors will see anyone who is ill, or who believes they are ill, on the day of action, but will not do paperwork.

Heather Edwards, head of communications at the Royal Bolton, said: “The results of the BMA ballot have only just been announced and we will now look at the local implications.

We will issue information to patients once that is clearer.”

GP bosses also stressed people who needed emergency care would be treated.

A Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman said: “Our first priority is to understand how many GP surgeries in Bolton will be affected, so we can consider the potential impact.

“However, patients should be reassured that anyone requiring urgent or emergency care will not be turned away, and we will be asking surgeries to ensure they have extra capacity in the days following June 21 to see patients who cannot be seen during the industrial action.”

Doctors say they feel “let down” by the Government’s refusal to budge on pension changes.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, the BMA’s chairman of council, said: “This clear mandate for action reflects just how let down doctors feel by the Government’s unwillingness to find a fairer approach to the latest pension changes.

“Non-urgent work will be postponed and, although this will be disruptive to the NHS, doctors will ensure patient safety is protected. All urgent and emergency care will be provided and we will work closely with managers so that anyone whose care is going to be affected can be given as much notice as possible.”

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