The NHS has insisted that there are ‘robust plans’ in place, as junior doctors prepare to strike. The industrial action by the doctors is set to take place over new contracts for them, being drawn up by the government.
They will be providing emergency care only from tomorrow at 8am until the following day at 8am. The same will happen from January 26 from 8am for 24 hours. There will be full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, February 10.
The NHS has expressed regret that thousands of planned procedures would have to be rearranged and that people would have to wait longer for treatment as a result.
Anne Rainsberry, the NHS England director overseeing preparations, said in a statement: “We have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action. As ever, the safety and care of patients is our top priority and the NHS has robust plans in place to ensure those who need emergency treatment will continue to receive it.
“We have been working with hospitals and other NHS providers across the country to ensure we can continue to protect the safety of our patients and provide the urgent services they need. We will monitor the situation across the country to ensure these plans are in place, and are ready to respond to any significant increases in pressure in any region over the course of this dispute.”
So, what is the advice being given to patients?
1. Urgent and emergency care services will be available as normal but hospitals are expected to be under additional pressure. Where possible, people should contact their GP, seek advice from their local pharmacist, call NHS111 or consult the NHS Choices website. Where it is an emergency, people should call 999 or go directly to A&E.
2. GP services will be available as normal and they would encourage anyone who thinks they will need an appointment to organise this before industrial action begins.
3. Any patients who have procedures or appointments affected by industrial action will be contacted by the providers if they need to be rearranged. Those with concerns about their procedure or appointment should contact their NHS provider for information.
4. People should be particularly attentive to their health over this period and look out for more vulnerable members of their families and communities. They should make maximum use NHS choices or NHS111 and local pharmacy services.
What is the estimated impact?
Data collection identifies that the following elective procedures are expected to be cancelled:
Inpatient – 1425, including 1148 on day of action (12 January)
Day case – 2535, including 2154 on day of action (12 January)
On a typical day, what does the NHS carry out?
A&E attendances - 61,000
Emergency ambulance journeys - 8,600
NHS111 calls offered - 35,000
Emergency admissions - 15,000
Elective admissions - 22,000
Operations - 31,000
Outpatient attendances - 157,000
Diagnostic tests - 52,000
Patients seen for suspected cancer -4,200
Patients starting treatment for cancer - 750