HEALTHCARE across Chester and Ellesmere Port could be disrupted today as doctors take strike action in protest over changes to their pensions.
The move comes after the British Medical Association voted in favour of industrial action last month, for the first time in nearly 40 years.
But patients across the city are being told there is no need to worry as urgent care and emergency treatment will still be provided.
However, those seeking routine appointments face being turned away from surgeries during the 24-hour strike.
A spokesman for West Cheshire clinical commissioning group said: “We must stress that GPs will continue to provide urgent and emergency care over the 24-hour period. It is only those patients needing routine appointments who will be affected.
“Although this will be somewhat disruptive to the NHS doctors will be there when patients need us most. The day of action will not jeopardise patients’ safety which remains our absolute priority.”
Residents have also been told if anyone is ill and needs an urgent GP appointment, they should still contact their GP practice in the first instance. But non-urgent treatment – including appointments – is likely to be postponed until another day but will not be cancelled altogether.
Management at the Countess of Chester Hospital say all doctors scheduled to be working today will be present on-site.
Inpatient and outpatient appointments will also take place as normal unless patients have been told otherwise.
Emergency care will not be affected by the industrial action and will continue as normal.
Countess medical director Dr Virginia Clough said: “Patient safety is our priority and any patients requiring urgent care will receive it as normal. We have plans in place to deal with any disruption that may be caused.
“Unless instructed otherwise, patients with inpatient and outpatient appointments should attend as normal. It is not necessary to call the appointments hotline for any further clarification.
“We advise patients to arrive early on this day.”
See full story in the Chester Leader