North East hospital bosses warn of disruption to NHS services during four-day junior doctor strike
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North East Trust leaders have stated their concern about the impact of the four-day period of industrial action from the British Medical Association (BMA).
The strike will see hundreds of junior doctors be unavailable to work from 7am on Tuesday, April 11, to 7am on Saturday, April 15.
In a statement issued through the North East’s Provider Collaboration, NHS Trust bosses in the North East and Cumbria expressed their concerns about the further pressure that the industrial action will put on the NHS.
The statement said: “As hospital providers we are very concerned.
“The prospect of not having junior doctors available for 96 hours at such a critical time after Easter will have an inevitable and noticeable impact on the quality of care we can provide.
“Junior doctors are a vital and much valued part of the NHS workforce and to have such a big part of our teams missing is a deep worry for us all.
“The pressure on services is already at peak with no let-up in demand. It is incumbent on us to be very clear with the public about the scale of the impact and knock on consequences for patients and for our staff.
“We will need people to support us by taking the right action if they need help from the NHS during this unprecedented time and to be mindful of the disruption to services.”
Planning is underway to minimise the impact caused by the strike action; however, bosses are warning patients that they will likely face longer waits when arriving in urgent and emergency care settings.
Trust chiefs are also concerned about the knock on delays to the already challenged discharge processes.
Despite the industrial action, the region’s Provider Collaborative is keen to reinforce the following messages to the public:
- If you are seriously ill or injured, you should continue to come forward and seek emergency care in the usual way.
- If you need urgent medical help or advice, or if you are unsure about whether you should go to hospital then go to NHS 11 online or dial 111 for free from any phone.
- If you need urgent mental health support, you can get 24/7 access from your local crisis team via the Mental Health Helpline.
- If you have a planned appointment between April 11 and 15, please attend your appointment as planned unless told otherwise. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs rescheduling.
The North East’s NHS Provider Collaborative added: “We are working hard to ensure patients and the public can still access the care they need, when they need it.
“The only way we can safely do this is to reschedule planned activity so that we can keep essential emergency services going.
“We are very sorry to those patients who will be impacted and all Trusts will, of course, be in touch directly with you if your care is impacted.
“We want to thank all staff, including our junior doctor colleagues, who continue to make a phenomenal effort day-in and day-out to manage the ongoing safe delivery of patient care at a time of unprecedented and relentless demand on the NHS.”
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