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Information about this week’s junior doctors strike

25 April 2016

The British Medical Association has confirmed further dates of proposed strike action. This means there will be a full withdrawal of labour—including emergency services—between 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 and again on Wednesday 27 April.

The British Medical Association has confirmed further dates of proposed strike action. This means there will be a full withdrawal of labour—including emergency services—between 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 and again on Wednesday 27 April.

Our Trust—which represents Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, West Middlesex University Hospital and a range of community clinics—is working hard to ensure that the quality and safety of care that we provide to patients is maintained during this period of strike action.

Our focus during this timeframe will therefore be on providing urgent and emergency and maternity care, care to patients staying on our wards and cancer patients.

Emergency care will be prioritised—we will run all urgent and emergency care services (including A&E and maternity).

Consultants will cover the usual duties of our junior doctors on our hospital wards to ensure the safety of inpatients. Other clinical staff including nurses, midwives and allied health professionals will be providing further clinical cover to ensure the safety of our patients.

  • NHS Choices has further information on the strike, including advice and information for patients. It also has a search facility linking patients to details of additional/extended services being provided in their area.

Questions and answers

What is different about this latest industrial action?

This latest round of industrial action is a full withdrawal of labour, unlike on previous occasions when junior doctors responsible for emergency care have remained in work.

The safety of patients remains our priority and, although junior doctors responsible for emergency care are on strike this time, every effort is being made to ensure all essential services continue to operate. The majority of clinical staff are not taking action as part of the junior doctors strike and will therefore be working in our hospitals as usual.

To ensure adequate cover on wards, departments and areas, during these exceptional circumstances all qualified, appropriate clinical staff will be on the ‘shop floor’. Staff have been allocated to wards and departments to ensure adequate coverage in all areas.

What does this mean for patients and service users?

The safety of our patients and service users during industrial action is our number one priority. All departments have reviewed services and staffing on the planned strike dates to continue to ensure emergency care and safe cover during this period.

  • See below if you have an appointment booked on the day of the strike.

What will this mean for emergency care?

Although junior doctors responsible for emergency care are on strike this time, emergency care will continue. The safety of patients remains our priority and every effort is being made to ensure all essential services continue to operate.

The majority of clinical staff are not taking action as part of the junior doctors strike and will therefore be working in our hospitals as usual.

Please remember that emergency services are for those who are seriously ill, with a life-threatening condition such as severe chest pain, breathing difficulties and severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.

The NHS 111 telephone service provides free advice and information 24/7, with trained advisers and medical staff who can assess your condition and point you towards the right service. Many common winter ailments can be treated at home, with advice from a pharmacist. Your family doctor (GP) should continue to be your first port of call for general health issues and advice.

What if I already have an appointment booked on the day of the strike?

The safety of our patients during industrial action is our number one priority. All departments have reviewed services and rotas on the planned strike dates to confirm the provision of safe cover. Our focus is on essential work—namely emergency and maternity care, patients on our wards and cancer patients.

In terms of planned hospital appointments during this period of strike action, consultants have reviewed the full list of people scheduled to be seen on those days to identify whom we need to prioritise based on clinical need. These people will not have their appointments cancelled in the event of the strike proceeding and have already been contacted to tell them that they should attend their appointment.

All other people scheduled to be seen on either 26 April or 27 April for non-urgent appointments have already been contacted to say their appointment will automatically be cancelled if the strike action goes ahead and we will be in touch very shortly to reschedule.

We hope that these two approaches will mean that we can keep patients safe and, if the action is cancelled, ensure that we can see as many people as possible on the day.

We would like to apologise for any distress and inconvenience caused.