Surrey’s NHS warns of further strike action into the bank holiday weekend and the impact on already busy services
Tomorrow (Thursday 24 August) sees the start of a further 48 hours of planned industrial action by consultants who are part of the British Medical Association (BMA). The strike will run until 7am on Saturday 26 August, with consultants only providing Christmas Day cover, meaning they will only provide an ‘emergency care’ level of service.
With hospitals and local services already busy, amid peak holiday season, as we head into the summer bank holiday weekend, local health leaders are warning of possible disruption and reminding people to use services responsibly so frontline teams can prioritise critical services and those who need urgent or life-saving care.
Professor Andy Rhodes, Joint Chief Medical Officer at Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership explains:
Hospitals and local services are already busy and, as we move into what we expect to be another busy bank holiday weekend, we are reminding people to use services responsibly and appropriately so our frontline teams, who continue to work incredibly hard, can prioritise critical services and make sure people who are critically ill get the care they need as quickly as possible.
With industrial action by some consultants starting tomorrow the local NHS is encouraging residents to continue to use services responsibly and appropriately:
- If it’s not a medical emergency people should continue to use 111 online as the first port of call for urgent health advice and they will be linked in with the service they need - or call 111 if people do not have access to the internet. Pharmacies can also help with minor health issues – details of pharmacies across Surrey and the south east open this weekend can be found on NHS South East website.
- People should only use 999 and A&E for serious or life-threatening conditions or medical emergencies (when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk).
- If people’s appointments or procedures have been affected by industrial action the local NHS will contact people directly to reschedule them as soon as possible. If people haven’t been contacted, they should attend as planned.
Professor Rhodes added:
As a local health and care system we fully support all our workforce – whether they choose to take part in planned industrial action or not and, as a system, we will continue to work together to minimise any disruption – but unfortunately some appointments and procedures will need to be rescheduled and waiting times are likely to be longer than usual.
There is a concern that the warm weather we are seeing may add to the challenge for our frontline teams, where we see an increase in people coming to hospital or using services as temperatures increase - so following a few simple steps, such as drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding the hottest part of the day and using sun lotion with a high UVA protection, all really help.