Doctors’ strike affects East Anglia’s hospitals and GP surgeries

More than a quarter of GP practices were affected by doctors taking industrial action, it has emerged.

In Norfolk and Waveney, 33 of the total 117 practices were today offering modified services as some members of the British Medical Association (BMA) only took on urgent or emergency cases in protest over the Government's controversial pension reforms.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney said it had only been informed of 32 individual GPs taking part in the strike, but said the total figure for the area was likely to be higher, particularly as 33 practices were affected. In Suffolk, 22 of its 68 practices were affected.

Just 8pc of doctors working in the NHS in England participated in the industrial action, the Department of Health claimed.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said that about 2,700 non-urgent operations were cancelled and 18,750 outpatient appointments had to be rescheduled as a result of the action.

In some areas of England, 37pc of GP surgeries would see only those patients in urgent need of care as doctors took action for the first time in almost four decades.

In the East of England a quarter of GP surgeries operated a reduced service.

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Dr Rob Harwood, chairman of the Eastern region consultants' committee of the BMA, said: 'That doctors would take this action is indicative that things must have got to a really bad stage, no that it wasn't that it was going to bring the health service to its knees, we wouldn't want that.

'I think we would be content with the response and I think everybody got the treatment they needed to have.'

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn had no cancellations, but the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital had to reschedule 69 out-patients appointment and 15 surgical operations.

There was minimal impact at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, which did not cancel any surgery but rescheduled three clinics.

The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds postponed 11 of the 45 operations planned for the day, 13 of the 44 planned outpatient clinics and seven of 46 planned ultrasound scans.

Where operations or clinics were postponed, patients were contacted and the appointments rescheduled.

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