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Bedford Hospital prepares for possible junior doctor strike action

30 November 2015

PLANS are in place to keep patients safe if the junior doctor strike action goes ahead on Tuesday 1 December. That is the message from Bedford Hospital as it finalises its preparations.

Junior doctors intend to provide 24 hours of ‘emergency care only’ in the first of three days of industrial action on the 1 December, followed by two full walk-outs on the 8 and 16 December. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the government has agreed to talks at ACAS - an independent body designed to help resolve disputes - but strikes have not been called off to date.

With a reduced number of medical staff on duty expected on the 1 December, the hospital has announced that whilst many hospital services will be unaffected, some non-urgent planned operations and appointments would have to be cancelled in order to ensure vital urgent care services are delivered safely.

The Trust is advising that all patients who have a planned operation on the 1 December will be phoned by the hospital (with as much notice as possible) to inform them whether or not their operation will go ahead.

Patients with other appointments, such as diagnostic andoutpatient appointments, will only be contacted if their appointment needs to be cancelled, otherwise they should attend as planned.

If any patient is unsure whether their operation or other appointments will be going ahead on the 1 December, or they would like to check, they can contact the number on your hospital letter.

Karen Ward, Bedford Hospital Chief Operating Officer, said: “We have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions, including industrial action, and over the last week we have been working closely with our commissioners and other partners to refine our contingency plans in order to minimise disruption to our services, whilst protecting the safety and welfare of our

“Our priority first and foremost during any disruption is to protect our vital emergency and urgent care services.

“Over the course of the planned strike action, we will continue to keep local residents, our patients and their families, closely informed of the situation.”

The Trust has also issued a reminder to local residents about using A&E services wisely over the next few weeks. Ms Ward added: “As always, we would like to remind local residents to consider alternatives first, such as pharmacists, GP surgeries and the NHS 111 service.

“Choosing the right service for your needs helps us to focus our attention on the most seriously unwell patients and can also save you time.”

Further information on getting the care you need can be found at www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk

Notes to editors

Get the care you need

If you are feeling unwell there's a range of NHS services available to help.

There's a range of NHS services on your doorstep so the next time you or a member of your family is feeling unwell, and you are not sure what to do, choose from the options below to help you decide.

1. Self-care

A well-stocked medicine cabinet will help you with many common health problems, such as colds and flu, coughs, sore throats,
indigestion, toothache, headaches and constipation. If you have children, don't forget to include medicines for them too. And always consult a doctor if the problem persists or worsens.

2. Ask your pharmacist

For free expert advice on everyday illnesses, cuts and bumps, medicines, healthy eating, obesity and giving up smoking. To find your three nearest pharmacies or for opening hours visit www.nhs.uk.

3. Contact NHS 111

For confidential healthcare advice and information round the clock. Call 111 (free from any phone) to speak to an advisor at the NHS 111 service or go online at www.nhs.uk.

4. Contact your GP surgery

For general medical advice and treatment, prescriptions, referral to a specialist or hospital, if needed, and jabs and tests. For urgent medical help when the surgery is closed, phone the surgery as normal and you will be directed where to go or call for out of hours treatment.

5. NHS walk-in centres

There is a walk-in centre in Bedford, where you can see an experienced nurse or doctor without an appointment for minor injuries and illnesses: Putnoe Walk-in Centre in Queens Drive, Bedford is open from 8am to 6.30pm seven days a week. Telephone: 01234 319992.

6. Urgent care

When it’s not an emergency, but is too urgent to wait if your GP surgery is closed, phone the surgery for the out of hours number. You may be seen at home or offered an appointment at various centres in Bedfordshire during out of hours.

7. A&E or dialling 999

For severe breathing difficulties, chest pains, loss of blood, suspected broken bones or other medical emergencies, go to an A&E department or call 999 for an emergency ambulance. Remember, A&E and 999 are for emergencies only. Unsure if your condition needs A&E treatment? Call 111.

8. Emergency dental care

Contact your dentist for emergency care arrangements


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