The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton has cancelled some operations and outpatient appointments as junior doctors prepare to go on strike.
Junior doctors will provide emergency care only during the 24-hour stoppage which is scheduled to start at 8am tomorrow (Tuesday 1 December).
Some of those on strike are expected to picket outside the front of the hospital in their dispute with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over pay and conditions.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “Some elective surgery and outpatient appointments have been cancelled and rescheduled but if you haven’t heard from us please assume your appointment will go ahead as planned.
“We would encourage the public to help keep our Emergency Department free for emergencies and use other services such as NHS 111, the Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital and the Brighton Station Health Centre if possible.”
One of the doctors who is supporting the strike said: “In Brighton we have worked with the trust to make the industrial action as safe for patients as possible.
“We feel that this is important as our disagreement isn’t with our patients or the trust.
“It is important for doctors to feel able to take part in the industrial action so we have encouraged juniors to tell their departments of their intentions so as to allow contingency planning. Consultants have been very supportive.
“We also are sensitive to the fact that trust is struggling financially.
“We are sorry that some elective work will have to be cancelled in order to maintain safety of our inpatients but we feel that the threatened new contract will compromise patient safety in the long term.
“A lot of work has gone in to trying to limit the impact on patients and to keep them safe.”
Chief executive Matthew Kershaw told the hospital trust board in a report this morning: “In preparation for the junior doctors’ industrial action, we have had detailed and positive discussions with the junior doctor representatives and all clinical directorates have developed plans for the planned first day of action on (Tuesday) 1 December to ensure as much of our clinical services are maintained.
“Clinical directorates have also identified the risks to other services which may be affected by the day of action and their mitigation plans.
“Further work will continue for the 1st but also the further days of planned action on (Tuesday) 8 and (Wednesday) 16 December.
“A command and control centre will be in place for the days of the strike and the control room will run out of the Clinical Operations Room for the duration of the industrial action.”