Appointments and non-urgent procedures cancelled at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital over strike threat

Sheffield Children's Hospital, Western Bank
Sheffield Children's Hospital, Western Bank
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Thousands of patients have had their operations and appointments cancelled despite a strike by junior doctors being called off, new figures reveal.

A temporary agreement reached on Monday night between Government officials, the British Medical Association and NHS Employers means three days of strikes will now no longer go ahead.

But there has already been mass disruption to the NHS, with thousands of patients unable to undergo operations or attend appointments today.

A snapshot survey of almost 20 NHS trusts has revealed around 600 operations and procedures cancelled alongside around 3,500 outpatient appointments.

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said it was cancelling a ‘very small’ number of clinics - 11 per cent of appointments and seven per cent of non-urgent procedures.

Isabel Hemmings, chief operating officer at the trust, said: “We’re fully satisfied that our arrangements are robust and families can be assured that if they need to come to our hospital for urgent care or a planned appointment, all the services we’re providing will be full staffed.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs on Monday that NHS England had estimated that up to 20,000 patients may have operations cancelled across all three days of planned action.

These included around 1,500 cataract operations, 900 skin lesion removals, 630 hip and knee operations, 400 spine operations, 250 gall bladder removals and nearly 300 tonsil and grommets operations.

The row between junior doctors and the government is over a new contract, with medics being offered an 11 per cent pay rise, but offset by curbs to other elements of the pay package, including unsociable hours payments.

Strike action was planned for today, December 8 and 16.