20 operations cancelled despite planned strike being called off

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

More than 20 operations by a hospital trust serving Hartlepool and East Durham were cancelled yesterday – despite a planned strike not going ahead.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust revealed that as a result of the planned strike by junior doctors, 21 non-urgent operations and eight outpatient clinics were cancelled.

A spokesman for the trust, which runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, said: “We postponed 21 non-urgent operations and eight outpatient clinics.

“All appointments and operations will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”

The strike action was cancelled after a temporary agreement was reached on Monday between government officials, the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS Employers.

Three days of strike action during the month was planned, with further 24-hour walk-outs scheduled for December 8 and December 16.

The Government has agreed to suspend its threat to impose a new contract on doctors while fresh talks take place.

However, if a final settlement with the BMA is not reached, it reserves the right to do so. The BMA, meanwhile, could yet carry out the strike action before a deadline of January 13 if talks break down.

A spokesman for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), which has been hosting the talks, said: “Following five days of productive talks under the auspices of Acas, the BMA, NHS Employers and the Department of Health have reached an agreement.

“Acas is pleased that the talks have been held in a constructive manner and co-operative spirit between the parties, that will allow an improvement in industrial relations.”

The basis for fresh negotiations is the Government’s offer from early November, including an 11% rise in basic pay for junior doctors.

This is offset by plans to cut the number of hours on a weekend that junior doctors can claim extra pay for “unsocial” hours.