Junior doctors strike: Lancashire medics join walkout as hospitals issue warning over disruption

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Junior doctors in Lancashire have joined thousands on strike across England as the dispute with the Government over pay continues.

The 72-hour walkout by medics – who can have up to eight years of experience as a hospital doctor or three years in general practice – runs until 7am on Saturday and is expected to lead to thousands of NHS appointments and operations being cancelled.

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Health services in Lancashire have said they will prioritise emergency and life-saving care during the latest round of industrial action. The local NHS is expecting to be under significant pressure this week and people living in the area have been warned that routine care will face disruption.

The junior doctors picket line outside Royal Preston HospitalThe junior doctors picket line outside Royal Preston Hospital
The junior doctors picket line outside Royal Preston Hospital
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Dr David Levy, medical director at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, which organises health services for the region, said: “To make sure safe care continues to be available for those in life-threatening situations, NHS staff will prioritise emergency and urgent care over some routine appointments and procedures.

“A lot of work has gone into preparing for this next set of strikes and there are a lot of appointments that will need to be rescheduled. If you haven’t been contacted to let you know that your appointment is being rescheduled, then please continue to attend your planned appointment. This is the seventh month of industrial action across the NHS and we have seen a cumulative impact on our services and also our staff, who have gone above and beyond to maintain safe services for patients during this challenging time.”

People who need care must still access the care they need – only using 999 and A&E in life-threatening emergencies and using NHS 111 online and other services for non-urgent health needs. Pharmacies and GPs are largely unaffected by the strikes so patients can still get appointments and health advice.

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The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for “full restoration” of pay, which it says has seen a 26% cut. The Government has offered 5% to end the dispute.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay, from Lytham, said it is “extremely disappointing” that the BMA is going ahead with further strike action.