Doctors have taken to the picket lines in South Tyneside today.

Junior doctors take to the picket line this morning at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Junior doctors take to the picket line this morning at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The latest round of strikes by junior doctors got underway at 8am this morning outside South Tyneside District Hospital.

Between 8am and 5pm today and tomorrow, the doctors at the South Shields hospital will join their colleagues across the country, who will be out on strike in protest over new contracts.

Bosses at the hospital have apologised for the cancellation of some procedures and appointments and they’re also urging people to stay away from A&E unless it’s an emergency.

Ian Frame, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s executive director for personnel and development, said: “We want to reassure patients that, in preparation for the full withdrawal of labour by junior doctor, everything has been done to minimise disruption to services at South Tyneside District Hospital whilst still ensuring patient safety.

“Unfortunately, a number of procedures and outpatient appointments have had to be cancelled and the patients concerned will be informed. We apologise to them and their families and carers and can assure them that we are doing all we can to rearrange the cancellations as quickly as possible.”

He added: “Consultants and senior doctors will be on duty to provide care for those requiring emergency medical treatment. However, we will, undoubtedly, be very busy and those attending A&E may have to wait longer than usual so we would really appreciate the understanding and support of the local population during this challenging period. We would appeal to them to use NHS services wisely and stay away from A&E unless they have a serious and life-threatening injury or condition.”