Non-urgent surgery and outpatient clinics scaled back to ensure safe staffing levels during two day junior doctors’ strike
MANY patients due to attend a hospital appointment either for non-urgent surgery or an outpatient clinic at hospitals run by The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are being contacted by the Trust to rearrange their appointment ahead of the two days of strike action by junior doctors on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th April 2016.
This next national strike by junior doctors will mean that junior doctors will not be at work and will not provide emergency cover on these two days of the industrial action between the hours of 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April (18 hours in total).
The Trust which runs North Manchester General Hospital, The Royal Oldham Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, Rochdale Infirmary and community services, is being forced to cancel appointments to ensure that adequate staffing is in place to cover urgent care services and inpatient wards.
Highly experienced consultants, specialist and staff grade doctors, nurse specialists and Allied Health Professionals will support urgent care services and have a greater presence on wards to cover for those junior doctors on strike.
As with previous strikes, Trust management have detailed plans in place to ensure the smooth running of services on the two strike days.
The Trust is taking steps to ensure the care provided at the Trust’s three A&E departments, urgent care centre, emergency surgery and maternity services will not be affected. A small number of outpatient clinics will also continue to be provided including fracture clinics.
Those patients affected by the routine appointment cancellations have already been contacted directly by the Trust by telephone and by a letter to advise them not to attend during the strike. Any cancelled appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible in chronological order and patients will be contacted and advised when their new appointment will take place.
Professor Matthew Makin, Medical Director at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, (pictured) said:
“This is an unprecedented situation for the NHS. Because junior doctors are not providing emergency care during these two strike days unfortunately we have had to contact patients to cancel more non-urgent surgery and outpatient appointments than we did for the last strike days. Where this is the case we have contacted our patients concerned directly to reschedule their appointment. They will not go to the back of the queue and we will ensure that they are seen as quickly as possible. There is no need for patients to contact the Trust as we will contact you directly. It is important we try and minimise disruption to our patients and their families as best we can.
“The Trust has robust plans to ensure that all of our hospital wards are safely staffed with medical and nursing input and essential services are maintained during the strike days. We are working hard to ensure that our plans are in place to protect the safety and welfare of our patients which remains our top priority.
“We are taking steps to ensure our A&E departments and urgent care services operate as usual, but we are asking the public to think carefully before turning up to our A&Es if their condition is not urgent. The public can help us to ensure that the NHS continues to operate as effectively as possible during this busy period especially in the lead up to and during the May bank holiday weekend as well. We anticipate our Emergency departments will be extremely busy this week, more so than usual. The public can seek medical advice and treatment from a local pharmacy, GP, NHS 111 or via the NHS Choices website containing up to date local information.”
The NHS Choices website has a dedicated strike page which details what alternative health services are available to patients during the strike - www.nhs.uk/strike. This will be updated with local information from Monday 25 April.
Throughout the strike any important announcements will be put on the Pennine Acute Trust website (www.pat.nhs.uk) and on Twitter (@PennineAcuteNHS) if required.