Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking members of the public to use services appropriately this Easter bank holiday week and the week that immediately follows, when junior doctors’ strikes are planned to take place (11-15 April).
The Trust is appealing to its local community to ‘help us, help you’ by ensuring that Accident and Emergency services are used in emergency and life-threatening cases only - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk. This will help to ensure that patients can receive the right level of care, in the right place, at the right time.
The BMA and HCSA have announced junior doctors strikes running from 06:59 on Tuesday 11 April until 06:59 on Saturday 15 April. This is four days of strikes involving up to half of doctors in the NHS, coming immediately after a four day bank holiday weekend. The NHS is facing record demand and the long bank holiday weekend is usually one of the busiest times for the NHS with staff working incredibly hard to maintain services.
Dr David Fluck, Medical Director at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals, said: “Last month’s industrial action had significant impact on our services and we’re expecting next week to be as challenging – if not more so – as it immediately follows the Easter bank holiday weekend.
“It is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases. Please utilise NHS 111 and 111 online when you need non-urgent or non-emergency care but you’re unsure of where to go, as they will be able to direct you to the most appropriate service.
“We are working hard to prioritise resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma, and ensure we prioritise patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.
“Redirecting resources to critical services does mean that some outpatient appointments and elective surgeries planned for next week have been rescheduled. We are contacting patients affected directly and advise patients to continue to attend appointments unless they are contacted and told otherwise.”
To help ensure care is available to patients who need it most, Ashford and St Peter’s is asking its local community to:
- Familiarise yourself with the right health service for different care needs – including pharmacies, GPs and local Walk in Centres – and use the most appropriate one for your needs. If you are unsure about where to go, visit NHS 111 online. Please note these services are likely to be busy following the long bank holiday weekend.
- Only use the Emergency Department (A&E) or call 999 if it is an emergency, when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. More information about ‘When to go to A&E’ is available on the NHS website.
- Take simple steps to look after yourself, loved ones and check in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.
GP practices will continue to be open during the junior doctors’ strike. Please continue to attend your GP and dental appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.