Doctors go on strike in Bristol
Doctors across Bristol are striking today for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Members of the British Medical Association are taking industrial action in a dispute with the Government about pensions.
In the Bristol area, two thousand doctors are members of the BMA and around half of them voted not to handle routine appointments and surgery on the day of action.
Even if only those who voted took part it would mean around 1,000 doctors treating emergency cases only.
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So far managers at Bristol’s two hospital trusts have refused to reveal how many doctors had informed them they would be taking part in the action or say how many operations and consultations are being cancelled as a result.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said that, nationally, up to 1.25 million GP appointments are set to be cancelled, along with 30,000 operations, including an estimated 700 hip or knee replacements.
Care of hospital inpatients is not due to be affected by the action.
Speaking earlier this week, James Rimmer, chief operating officer of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the city centre hospitals, said: “Our emergency departments and all other urgent services will be running as normal.”
He said the trust had contacted non-urgent patients affected by the action and had set up a phone number – 0117 342 4000 – for patients to call today if they had queries.
North Bristol NHS Trust and Weston Area Health Trust also said all urgent and emergency services would be unaffected and anyone who had not been told their appointment was being cancelled should assume it is going ahead.