Posted by Hayley Smith at 26/04/2016 08:56:23
Patients in east Kent are being urged to use NHS 111 or Health Help Now to find the right health service to use during the two day industrial action this week.
On Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April 2016, junior doctors across England are on strike between 8am and 5pm following the breakdown of talks between the British Medical Association and the Government over proposed changes to employment contracts.
It is extremely important that patients use the right service for their need and allow A&E staff to focus on those who need immediate or urgent care. These can be found by dialling NHS 111 or visiting Health Help Now.
In Ashford, there is a GP minor injuries service which is able to treat minor sprains, burns, head and eye injuries. Pharmacists can also provide expert, free, confidential advice on a host of minor health issues such as coughs, diarrhoea, sprains and strains. People can find their nearest pharmacy by visiting Health Help Now.
Dr Navin Kumta, Chair of NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are working with East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) who are doing everything they can to minimise disruption for patients. However, it is unavoidable that some services will be affected including postponement of some routine operations and non-urgent outpatient appointments.
“The NHS is open for business but we ask the public to use it wisely in this very challenging time as some services may change and some may be busier than usual so contact services early if you need to book appointments during this time.”
The staff at the Hospital Trust have worked hard to try and minimise disruption to patients. The Trust has business continuity plans in place that cover industrial action. Those plans will be implemented across all hospitals, to continue providing safe and effective services for patients who need care, as was done on previous strike action days.
Matthew Kershaw, EKHUFT Chief Executive, said: “As well as increasing senior doctor presence on strike days, we are taking measures to ensure we have the capacity to see and treat patients who require urgent or immediate care.
“We are taking every precaution to make sure that patients are kept safe and well-cared for over the strike period. It has been necessary to reschedule non-urgent appointments and planned operations. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause and those affected have been contacted in advance.”
Important information for patients:
- People in need of urgent and emergency care will continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it. However, due to increased pressures on the NHS over this period, those in less urgent need of care may experience longer waiting times than normal and some elective operations are being postponed or rearranged. In all cases priority will be given to those patients with the most pressing health needs.
- If you are feeling unwell, don’t wait for it to get worse. Take action and look at Health Help Now - available to download from the App Store and Google Play to find the right local services for common symptoms. If you don’t have access to the internet and are feeling unwell, please take advice from your pharmacist or GP, or call NHS 111.
The role of the east Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) during industrial action is to support those organisations that provide NHS care, particularly East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT), and NHS England to ensure that the NHS as a whole continues to operate as effectively as possible. The CCG is not responsible for negotiating with staff or the unions or for direct communication with patients about the impact of strikes on individual services.