JUNIOR doctors at Barnsley Hospital are currently in the midst of the longest NHS walkout in history - with bosses warning the new year is going to be ‘tough’ for staff.

Following on from last month’s three-day strike, workers took strike action on Wednesday morning.

The six-day strike is set to end on Tuesday morning and hospital bosses are urging residents to use their services wisely as a number of departments are at capacity.

However, the Chronicle understands that no junior doctors have been on the picket line at the Gawber Road site, despite it being the longest walkout in history.

A spokesperson said: “Barnsley Hospital works hard to keep patients safe during strikes, while delivering the best care possible.

“Nobody should put off seeking urgent or emergency care during the strikes, with key services continuing to operate.

“During strike action we prioritise resources to protect the emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma units.

“We will only reschedule appointments and procedures where it is necessary, and will rebook immediately where possible.

“Unfortunately, these strikes will have a significant impact upon planned and routine care.”

Bosses also warned that the A and E department at the Gawber Road site is ‘extremely busy’.

“Please only attend in an emergency situation so we can provide care and treatment to those who need it most.

“Our discharge teams continue to help patients and families to make sure the transition to home is safe and with the right support in place.

“Collecting family and friends from hospital as soon as they’re ready to be discharged helps free up beds for those who need them.”

Dr David Crichton, the NHS South Yorkshire chief medical officer, has warned that the new year will be tough for the service - due to the strikes and winter pressures.

He added: “Our health services in South Yorkshire are already extremely busy and we expect the planned action to further impact on all aspects of NHS services.

“Therefore, we’re asking people to please choose wisely and consider whether or not they should attend A and E or call 999.

“We are asking the public to play their part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after themselves, their loved ones and by checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.

“At a time when we experience high levels of flu and other viruses such as norovirus, it’s especially important to wash your hands and stay warm during these cold winter weeks.

“Over the coming days, the NHS will be prioritising resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, and trauma.”