100 Gloucestershire doctors expected to go on strike
AROUND 100 family doctors in Gloucestershire are expected to take industrial action and some operations will be postponed this week.
British Medical Association members last month backed action nationally over pension reforms and they are set to make their point on Thursday, when all non-urgent work will be postponed.
NHS Gloucestershire says just under 30 per cent of county GPs are expected to take part.
Some hospital doctors will join them but the trust, which runs Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals, could not say how many.
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It did confirm some routine outpatient appointments and operations planned for Thursday had been rescheduled to "minimise disruption".
It will be the first industrial action taken by doctors for nearly 40 years.
Consultant surgeon Charlie Chan voted for industrial action, but will be working at Cheltenham General Hospital on Thursday as he has a list of cancer patients to operate on.
He said: "In line with the promise the BMA made that no one would suffer, if they need urgent or emergency care I will be operating on my cancer patients."
He said some surgeons, such as those working in orthopaedics, have informed the trust they will not do routine operations, but will be in the hospital on the day.
This could impact on hip replacements, routine hernia surgery and varicose vein operations, but Mr Chan stressed that emergency surgery will go ahead.
He added: "Emergency patients may get a better service on that day. The doctors who are taking action will not be performing routine duties, but they will be willing and available to look after the emergency ones."
Health bosses moved to reassure the public ahead of the industrial action.
Debra Elliott, director of commissioning development for NHS Gloucestershire, said: "Patient care will always be our top priority and we want to assure the public that we are working closely with the GPs in the county, and with the local hospitals, to ensure medical cover will continue to be available for our patients."
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says that in order to minimise disruption on the day, it has decided to reschedule some routine outpatient appointments and operations planned for Thursday and will contact affected patients.