APPOINTMENTS at Colchester Hospital will be cancelled this week as junior doctors’ stage their latest walkout in their ongoing row over pay.

Junior doctors represented by the BMA union will go on strike across England from 7am on Wednesday to 7am on Saturday.

Colchester Hospital bosses confirmed appointment numbers will be cut over the three days but urged patients to turn up unless they are told otherwise.

It comes after another 72-hour strike in March and a 96-hour walkout in April, and a union leader has said industrial action could continue to March 2024 or beyond.

Gazette: Ongoing dispute - Junior doctors walked out in AprilOngoing dispute - Junior doctors walked out in April (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

The BMA’s junior doctors committee has called for a 35 per cent hike in wages, a demand branded “unreasonable” by Health Secretary Steve Barclay, who said there must be “movement on both sides” of the dispute.

Its co-chairman Dr Rob Laurenson told Sky News: “It’s a real shame that we’re having to call strike action again because the Government’s offer, which was five per cent and £1,500, was nothing that began to even restore the pay erosion and in fact would have led to another real terms pay cut.”

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The starting salary for a junior doctor is £29,384, plus additional payments for overnight and weekend work.

The most senior junior doctors have a starting salary of £58,398, plus the additional payments.

An East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust spokesperson said: “We are committed to keeping disruption to services to a minimum. Our focus is on providing safe care for patients who need urgent and emergency services, and those receiving inpatient care in our hospitals.

“We will be reducing the number of appointments we have planned on the strike days to make sure we have safe levels of staff across all services. You’ll be contacted if your appointment needs to be changed, so please turn up as usual if you are not contacted.

“We know how disappointing it will be for patients who have their appointments rescheduled. We are very sorry and will rearrange the appointments as quickly as possible.

“If you need medical help or advice, go to NHS 111 online unless it is a life-threatening emergency when you should still call 999 or go to A&E.”