County's health leaders issue advice ahead of junior doctors' strike
Junior doctors at Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital are due to take full industrial action between the hours of 8am and 5pm on Tuesday April 26 and Wednesday April 27, 2016.
This is the first time in the NHS’s history that junior doctors will refuse to provide emergency cover. Consultants and other medical staff within both hospitals will still be working during the strike.
Junior doctors at the community and mental health provider, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, are also taking industrial action however services are not expected to be disrupted.
Keeping patients safe
Northampton General Hospital’s chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, Deborah Needham, said: “Our priority is to keep our patients safe.
“We have been working with nursing and medical colleagues to put robust plans in place to ensure our hospital remains completely safe during the proposed strike periods.
“However, we do need the wider public to understand the implications of the strike action and only use our A&E service if it is a real emergency.
“People can also help us by being on hand to provide support and transport to their family and friends who are being discharged from hospital. This avoids unnecessary delays and helps patients return home sooner.
“Unfortunately we have had to postpone planned surgery and outpatient appointments to ensure our staff are able to continue to deliver safe, high quality care to our patients in hospital and those who need us in an emergency. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes, but patient safety is always our utmost priority.”
Appointments will be rearranged to new dates for patients as soon as possible.
Using existing NHS alternatives to A&E
Local health leaders are also urging members of the public to think about how they can help to relieve some of that pressure.
Dr Darin Seiger, GP Chair of NHS Nene CCG said: “There are simple things that people in Northamptonshire can do to help.
“For example it is important to think carefully about whether they can treat their minor illness at home, with help from their local pharmacist, or to visit their GP, or by getting advice from NHS 111.
“NHS 111 provides advice 24 hours, seven days a week for people who have a condition that cannot wait for their GP or if they are unsure what to do.
“Many people also don’t realise the wide range of additional services available through their local pharmacists who do much more than dispensing prescriptions.
“They offer free expert advice on a wide range of health issues, support for self-care and medicines to treat common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.
“Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals therefore they have expert knowledge on prescription and over the counter medicines. Many pharmacies are open seven days a week and late into the evening. People can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting www.nhs.uk .”
Dr Joanne Watt, Clinical Chair for NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “For vulnerable groups – such as the elderly, children and people with long-term conditions – steps should be taken to ensure they, or those caring for them, know what to do if they need medical care. If they have regular medication – please make sure they collect any prescriptions from the GP and have been to the pharmacist to collect it, and have it to hand.
“Most importantly, A&E is ONLY for more serious accidents and emergencies.”
During the strike period the two hospitals will continue to provide their essential services eg A&E, medical services, emergency surgery, intensive care, diagnostics, paediatrics and maternity services.
Posted on Monday 18th April 2016