Striking doctors hit hospital services for Welwyn Hatfield patients
PUBLISHED: 10:15 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:04 03 May 2016
Bosses have postponed appointments and operations to ensure the hospitals Welwyn Hatfield people rely on can cope with emergencies while junior doctors strike today and tomorrow.
Unlike previous strikes called by the BMA, the action that started at 8am today covers emergency treatment, so managers of Welwyn Garden City’s QEII
and Stevenage’s Lister hospitals have redeployed consultants to the most critical departments.
Consequently, over 900 outpatient appointments and 20 planned operations, all at Lister Hospital, have been postponed.
Chief executive Nick Carver said: “With the support of all clinical teams, we have developed robust plans to cope with this level of disruption.
“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.
“Although we have planned extensively to cope with the impact of these strikes, it is inevitable that they will impact on our services - for which we are sorry.
“More than ever, where someone’s life is not in danger but urgent medical attention is needed, people should call NHS111 first.
“Its staff will be able to advise about the best services to use locally.
“Please help keep our emergency department at the Lister free to care for those with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
“Whilst we have postponed a relatively small number of operations, we had to cancel over 900 outpatient appointments across the two days to ensure that our consultants especially can be redeployed on to our wards and our emergency services, including A and E, maternity critical care, our heart attack centre and hyper-acute stroke unit.
“Anyone due to come to hospital on either strike day who has not been contacted by the trust already should assume that their clinic or surgery appointment is going ahead as scheduled.
“However, waiting times to be seen or taken to theatre, or discharged back home, may be somewhat longer than would be the case normally.
“The effects of this particular set of strikes are likely to extend past 27 April, as inevitably a backlog of work will develop over the two days that will need to be tackled in the run up to a bank holiday weekend - when again our emergency services are likely to come under further pressures.
“So even after the strike has finished, we are asking people to continue to use NHS111 for advice and support if they have an urgent medical need that is not life-threatening. Do help us by keeping the Lister’s emergency department as free as possible.”
The stoppage, from 8am to 5pm both days, has been callled by the BMA in protest at a proposed new contract, which the Government needs to introduce seven-day a week working.
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