Hospital bosses are drawing up plans to cope with industrial action by junior doctors which is due to begin later this month.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has confirmed it is taking action in a row over pay and conditions.
The trust is following guidelines from NHS Employers and the British Medical Association. We are currently working through contingency plans to ensure we are safely providing the right level of care to our patients.Trust spokeswoman
The BMA announced three spells of strike action, with junior doctors providing emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday, January 12, followed by a 48-hour stoppage and the provision of emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday, January 26, and a full withdrawal of labour from 8am to 5pm on Wednesday, February 10.
A North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “The trust is following guidelines from NHS Employers and the British Medical Association.
“We are working through contingency plans to ensure we are safely providing the right level of care to our patients.”
The Government has offered a deal which will see an 11% rise in basic pay for junior doctors, offset by cuts to the number of “unsocial” weekend hours for which they can claim extra pay.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government thought it was “making very good progress” in talks and he was disappointed the BMA had called strikes, but added that “the door is open”.
“The current contract means we have three times less medical cover on weekends because hospitals can’t afford to roster enough people on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.
“We have a situation where every weekend in the NHS we have lapses in care, that we are not able to promise NHS patients the same high-quality care every day of the week. And you can’t choose which day of the week you get ill on.”
BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said it was still possible that action could be called off, but insisted the Government would have to go “further” than it had so far.
He said: “An 11% pay increase doesn’t compensate when you take away a 31% average payment for working the unsocial hours.
“Anybody can do the maths on that.”