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Strike delay warning for NHS patients

Published on 29/11/2011

NHS patients can expect delays and postponed operations tomorrow as thousands of nurses, healthcare assistants, paramedics, physiotherapists, and support staff will join the action against changes to public sector pensions.

The Department of Health estimates that one in five NHS staff will strike tomorrow, November 30, leading to an estimated 20 per cent drop in capacity.

That would equate to 5,500 pre-planned operations having to be rescheduled as well as 12,000 diagnostic tests. It would also mean 40,000 outpatient appointments being delayed, and 7,500 ambulance transfers.

Last week, Andrew Lansley called on NHS staff to ‘carefully consider’ their decision to take action. He said: "I would ask staff, despite what their trade union says, to consider carefully whether going on strike is the right thing to do.

"We have to put patients first. The NHS and those working in the health service should never take action that would prejudice the interests of patients."

"It is especially irresponsible to do so when there continue to be active discussions with the trade unions."

NHS trusts have made contingency plans to cope with the strike, including maintaining urgent and emergency services. Unions have promised that action "will not compromise patient safety".

However, a Department of Health spokesman said the strikes would have a "knock-on effect". Private medical insurance holders with planned treatment in the independent sector should not be affected by the strike.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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