Fourth junior doctors strike starts today prompting hospitals to cancel patient operations and appointments

Junior doctors encouraging public support in Gentleman's Walk, Norwich . Photo : Steve Adams

Junior doctors encouraging public support in Gentleman's Walk, Norwich . Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Junior doctors across the region today embark on their fourth strike over a new proposed contract, prompting the cancellations of operations and appointments.

The walkout, which will still see junior doctors provide emergency care cover, starts from 8am this morning and finishes at 8am on Friday.

This has impacted on the following hospitals:

- The N&N has postponed 16 operations and 521 appointments.

- 215 patients have been affected by cancellations at James Paget University Hospital.

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- Queen Elizabeth Hospital has cancelled 98 appointments.

- West Suffolk Hospital has cancelled 31 operations and six appointments.

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- Ipswich Hospital has cancelled 13 operations and 167 appointments.

Junior doctors object to the contract which the government says will create a truly seven-day service.

They are currently paid more for working unsocial hours at night or at the weekend. But under the proposed new contracts, the Saturday day shift will be paid at a normal rate in return for a rise in basic pay.

Doctors also believe the contract will lead to the workforce being stretched, increasing the risks to patients on week-days.

A further strike is planned, which for the first time will see emergency cover junior doctors also strike, between April 26-27

Dr James Rowson, who represents the British Medical Association (BMA) at the N&N, said: 'We're sitting with a government that is refusing to listen.

'My opinion, and that of doctors around me, is that this is something we have to do.'

Patients who have not heard from the trust should assume their appointment or operations will go ahead.

Richard Parker, chief operating officer at the trust, said: 'The trust has tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action.

'We are working to ensure there are robust arrangements in place that protect the safety, welfare and service provided to patients. 'Patients in need of emergency care will continue to receive the treatment they need, and will be prioritised.

'As a result of the impact of this disruption, some waiting times may be longer than normal.'

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: 'This strike is irresponsible and disproportionate.

'If the BMA had agreed to negotiate on Saturday pay we'd have a negotiated agreement by now.

'We ask doctors to look at the detail of the contract and call on the BMA to cancel their plans to escalate strike action even further.'

More than 5,000 operations have been cancelled as a result of the strike across England.

Have you been affected by the strikes? Email

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