Doctors’ strike to delay hospital treatment for Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield patients
PUBLISHED: 08:32 28 November 2015
Hospital bosses are bracing themselves for a strike by junior doctors, which is likely to delay treatment for Welwyn Hatfield patients and postpone some operations.
Although the 24-hour stoppage from 8am on Tuesday, approved by a British Medical Association (BMA) ballot, will not affect emergency treatment or the New QE2’s Urgent Care Centre, some clinic appointments and planned operations will be postponed.
Nick Carver, chief executive of the trust running the New QE2 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, said: “We have tried and tested contingency plans to deal with a wide range of disruptions, including industrial action.
“These plans, which have been developed locally with the support of our NHS colleagues across the county, are in place to protect the safety, welfare and service provided to our patients.
“The BMA’s local representatives have worked with us to ensure that all junior doctors working in our hospitals are clear about what services are affected by the industrial action that they are proposing to take on December 1 as part of a national dispute.
“In essence, we are planning for this day as if it were a bank holiday.
“We expect our A and E, Urgent Care Centre and other emergency services to continue functioning as normal. “It is possible that waiting times may be longer for some patients as there may be delays experienced due to the impact of industrial action on other support services used by our A and E teams.
“More than ever, where someone’s life is not in danger but urgent medical attention is deemed necessary, please call NHS111 first.
“Its staff will be able to advise about the best services to use locally.
“Whilst we are postponing some clinic appointments and elective surgery, we are contacting everyone involved individually ahead of time so they know what is happening and can plan accordingly.
“Those patients who have not been contacted should assume that their clinic or surgery appointment is going ahead as scheduled.
“Having said that, however, waiting times to be seen or taken to theatre may be somewhat longer in the circumstances than would be the case normally.”
Talks continue between the Government and the BMA, which has called the strike in protest at a proposed new contract for junior doctors.
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