Accessing care during industrial action

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals is issuing a warning about significant disruption as a protracted period of industrial action affects services over the next two weeks.

The Trust is urging patients and their families across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to be aware of the expected impact and the range of ways to access appropriate and timely care.

The industrial action planned is split across two medical groups:

  • Junior doctors are scheduled to be on strike from 7am on Thursday, 13 July until 7am on Tuesday, 18 July
  • Consultant doctors and dentists are scheduled to be on strike for 48 hours from 7am on Thursday, 20 July until 7am on Saturday, 22 July.

Janet Barnsley, Executive Director of Integrated Care at the Trust, said: “The industrial action will mean there is likely to be significant impact and our services will feel different for patients. Unfortunately this could include longer waits, or treatment and appointments being rescheduled or cancelled, which may be at short notice as the Trust explores every possible avenue for activity to go ahead.

“We will only cancel appointments and procedures where it’s absolutely necessary and will reschedule them immediately where possible. If  you have an appointment with us, please attend as expected unless we contact you directly.

“Whilst we absolutely respects the right of all colleagues to strike, we know the junior doctors’ and hospital consultants’ industrial action called one after the other will create significant challenges. It is vital people are aware of the pressure the health service will be under and know the best way to access care during that time.”

Resources will be prioritised to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care and trauma, as well as patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.

Urgent and emergency care services will be open during the industrial action period and in the event of a life or limb threatening emergency people should continue to call 999 or attend Accident and Emergency.

For all other health needs, please contact NHS 111 online or call 111 if you don’t have internet access. There are many other places that can offer support, including GP surgeries and pharmacies and NHS111 will be able to guide you to the right place.

Janet added: “The community’s support during previous periods of industrial action has been invaluable and we are immensely grateful to everyone for continuing to use NHS services appropriately during these times of pressure. Please take simple steps to look after yourself, loved ones and check in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.”

Who are junior doctors?

Junior doctors are qualified doctors who have anywhere up to eight years’ experience working as a hospital doctor, depending on their specialty, or up to three years in general practice. Almost half of all hospital doctors in the country are junior doctors – more than 50,000.

They work in almost every part of a busy hospital, including in A&E, where they might diagnose patients, put them under anaesthetic, write prescriptions, support the process of admission and discharge, maintain the flow of patients through the hospital and ensure beds are available for those who need them the most. They are also an important part of the teams for planned in-patient appointments, as well as out-patient clinics.

Up-to-date information about industrial action and what to do is on the Trust website.

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