Doctors' 'strike' hits Surrey hospitals
HOSPITAL appointments across Surrey have been hit by a doctors' 'strike' taking place today.
On Thursday (June 21) doctors across the UK were taking part in industrial action in a dispute over proposed changes to their pensions.
It means across Surrey alone hundreds of non-urgent or planned outpatient appointments, operations and tests are likely to have been re-scheduled.
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said around 40 of its 500 doctors confirmed they will be participating in industrial action, affecting 105 scheduled appointments.
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The Trust said it had contacted patients affected with alternative appointments rescheduled.
The Trust said in a statement: "We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the industrial action."
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust, which serves Guildford and the surrounding area, said "very few" of its doctors will take part in the industrial action.
But it warned people should only attend A & E if it was for urgent treatment on Thursday.
It said in a statement: "We wish to reassure our patients, visitors and staff that very few doctors at RSCH have indicated an intention to participate in this action.
"We are therefore currently planning for the great majority of our services to be running normally on that day and unless patients are contacted regarding a cancellation they can be assured that their appointment or procedure is going ahead.
"If patients have had their appointments cancelled we will do our best to book new appointments as soon as possible and apologise for any distress or inconvenience this may cause.
"In addition, we ask that only urgent treatment and emergencies attend our A&E department on this day to ensure that all those requiring our specialist care receive it quickly."
Surrey and Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust, which includes East Surrey Hospital, said: "All patients with appointments for 21 June should attend their appointment as normal unless they have been contacted directly by the hospital and told otherwise. All outpatient clinics are operating as normal."
Kingston Hospital said it expected the majority of appointments to go ahead as usual.
Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals have not indicated how appointments and operations will be affected.