Emergency care at the Countess of Chester Hospital will not be affected by the junior doctors’ strike, but some appointments will be cancelled.

West Cheshire CCG has said all inpatient care and urgent surgeries will go ahead despite the 24-hour walkout from 8am on Tuesday (January 12).

A breakdown in contract talks between the British Medical Association and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt means the 24-hour strike is back on.

Letters have been sent out to anyone whose appointments are affected.

A West Cheshire CCG spokeswoman said: "If industrial action goes ahead as planned the Countess of Chester Hospital will be providing emergency and urgent care.

"A number of outpatient appointments have had to be cancelled and those patients affected have been contacted by letter.

"Inpatient care and urgent surgery will continue to be provided.

"The planned strike action will end at 8am on January 13, but it is likely that it will cause some disruption to local services in the days ahead."

The Countess has said its A and E department has been ‘extremely busy’ over the winter period.

The public were advised to avoid The Countess of Chester Hospital this morning (Monday)

Junior doctors are disputing the new contracts Mr Hunt wants to impose, which would see ‘normal working hours’ extended.

This could see some take a pay cut of as much as 30%.

In a BMA ballot more than 98% supported the initial walk out last month, which was called off less the day before it was due to start.

BMA council chair Mark Porter said: “After weeks of further negotiations, it is clear that the government is still not taking junior doctors’ concerns seriously.

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“Furthermore, the government has repeatedly dragged its feet throughout this process, initially rejecting our offer of talks and failing to make significant movement during negotiations.

“We sincerely regret the disruption industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option.

“It is because the government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long term that we are taking this stand.”

A further 48-hour strike is planned on from 8am on January 26.

Rather than making A and E the first port of call, those suffering from minor ailments are advised to visit their local pharmacist, contact the NHS 111 telephone service or consult your GP.

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A West Cheshire CCG spokeswoman said: "If industrial action goes ahead as planned the Countess of Chester Hospital will be providing emergency and urgent care.

"A number of outpatient appointments have had to be cancelled and those patients affected have been contacted by letter.

"Inpatient care and urgent surgery will continue to be provided.

"The planned strike action will end at 8am on January 13, but it is likely that it will cause some disruption to local services in the days ahead."