Protesters packed the streets of Doncaster as they marched through the town centre as part of an all-out strike by junior doctors.
The Doncaster staff joined thousands across the country in the first day of a planned walkout over two days in dispute over working hours and pay.
A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust confirmed 50 non-urgent operations and 672 non-urgent outpatient appointments had been cancelled as a result of the action.
British Medical Association representative and trainee GP Selene Chew who was taking part in yesterday’s march said: “The strike, despite what the Government might tell you, is not about pay, it’s not about politics. It’s trying to keep the NHS safe, free and sustainable for future generations. We want to highlight the danger this contract poses to the NHS.
“It will stretch an already over-stretched and understaffed NHS to breaking point, paving the way for privatisation.
“The imposed contract will cause doctors to tire and burn out quicker, it openly discriminates against female doctors and parents, leaving an unsustainable NHS workforce. It also has a wider implication on all NHS staff and social care.
“We want the public to know that we are fighting to save this NHS from an uncosted, unmodelled and understaffed service, which is unsafe for patients and unfair to doctors.
“The NHS is the most pure form of human compassion I know, and is worth fighting for. “
The march started at 10.30am outside Doncaster Royal Infirmary and protesters marched through Doncaster town centre where demonstrators explained the importance of supporting and winning the junior doctors’ dispute.
Mr Sewa Singh, medical director for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals, said: “Providing safe and effective care to our patients is always our priority and in preparation for the strike action on April 26 and 27, we have cancelled all non-urgent operations and clinic appointments. This has allowed us to work with our consultant medical, nursing and allied health professional staff to ensure that urgent and emergency care services are maintained and appropriately staffed.
“Patients, whose treatment has been postponed due to the action, have been contacted directly and made aware of the alternative arrangements.
“I urge everyone to consider alternatives like their GP, pharmacist, Doncaster Same Day Health Centre, the Minor Injuries Unit or the NHS 111 Advice Line, before attending the Emergency Department during this time.”
Junior doctors across the country walked out of routine and emergency care at 8am yesterday.
The stoppage affected A&E, maternity and intensive care for the first time. A further all-out action is set to take place today between 8am and 5pm.