HEALTH chiefs at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) has moved to re-assure patients as the planned strike by junior doctors begins.
The 24 hours industrial action, in opposition to a change in working conditions and pay, will take place 8am on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 to 8am on Wednesday, January 13 2016.
A spokesperson for WAHT said: “In response to this proposed action, we have had to cancel approximately 68 outpatient appointments and 13 elective surgical cases across all of our services on all three hospital sites (the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, and Kidderminster General Hospital).
“We estimate that there will be 43 junior doctors striking in total across our three sites.
“We have contacted all affected patients to inform them of their cancelled appointment due to the industrial action.
Patients have been advised that if the strike does not go ahead then they should attend their appointment as normal. If patients are unsure then they should ring the number on the top of their appointment letter.”
He added that the Trust expects to provide as full a service as it possibly can during this period and that patient care and safety was the driver behind their decisions.
“Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust would like to assure patients and the general public that:
“1) We have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action. We are working with the NHS to ensure there are robust plans that protect the safety, welfare and service provided to patients.
“2) Plans are in place across the country to deliver emergency care but in some places the NHS service may be under significant pressure. We want people to plan so they know what to do if they need medical care during the course of this industrial action.
23) Patients in need of urgent and emergency care will continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it.
However, due to increased pressures on the NHS over this period, those in less urgent need of care may experience longer waiting times than normal and some elective operations may need to be postponed or rearranged. In all cases priority will be given to those patients with the most pressing health needs.”
Other healthcare options available instead of calling 999 including visiting the local pharmacist or GP, calling NHS 111 or using NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk).
“For those who are on regular medication, have a long-term illnesses and the elderly, if you feel unwell please do not wait, take advice from your GP or pharmacist, or contact NHS111 and if you have regular medication – please make sure you have collected your prescription from the GP and have been to the pharmacist to collect it, and have it to hand,” added the spokesman.