Belfast Telegraph

As the health row rumbles on, what happens next for patients?

The Royal Victoria Hospital (Paul Faith/PA)
The Royal Victoria Hospital (Paul Faith/PA)

Belfast Health Trust has cancelled 900 outpatient appointments on Monday as industrial action by health workers continues into a second week.

Health Trusts have posted details of the latest updates online.

Patients with a cancelled appointment in any Trust area have been told they will be contacted directly, otherwise they are advised to still attend as normal.

The Belfast Trust said the 900 routine outpatient appointments had to be cancelled in Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast City Hospital and the School of Dentistry.

Letters of apology have been sent to patients with new appointment dates.

All hospital surgical procedures, inpatient and day cases planned for Monday will proceed as normal in all Belfast Trust hospitals.

Outpatient appointments will also proceed as normal at Musgrave, Mater, Children's, Royal Jubilee Maternity Service and Northern Ireland Cancer Centre including Bridgewater Suite and Belfast City Hospital.

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Elsewhere, the Western Trust said strike action by Unison workers from 8am to 2pm on Monday will cause "significant" disruption across the majority of hospital sites.

This includes a small number of Children's and Adolescents Mental Health Services (CAMHS) being postponed. The Trust say these will be "prioritised and rearranged" as soon as possible.

Several daycare centres will also be closed on Monday; Omagh, Dromore, Strathroy, Castlederg, Fresh Focus, Lackaboy and Tir Navar.

All outpatients and red flag day case appointments at Altnagelvin Hospital, Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex and South West Acute Hospital will proceed as planned. Emergency services won't be affected.

In the South Eastern Trust, there are no planned cancellations on Monday but an update said "there may be some disruption as action short of strike action continues".

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Julian Smith said he is available this weekend to continue to facilitate talks in a bid to break the deadlock between health bosses and unions.

Mr Smith said he is committed to bring an end to industrial action by Unison and the Royal College of Nursing.

However, he has stopped short of saying whether he will take the matter to the Treasury to seek additional funding in order that healthcare staff in Northern Ireland achieve pay parity with their GB counterparts.

A spokeswoman from the Northern Ireland Office said: "Decisions on pay and conditions for health care staff are taken by the devolved administration.

"It is his sincere hope that agreement can be found quickly, and to that end he has offered to be available throughout the weekend to support that in any way that he can."

The Treasury did not respond to a request for a comment.

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