Posted: Tue 11th Apr 2023

Countess of Chester Hospital advice during four day junior doctor strike

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 11th, 2023

The Countess of Chester Hospital has issued advice for patients as junior doctors across England begin a 96-hour strike.

Junior doctors in the NHS across England have started a four-day walkout, which is expected to be the most disruptive in NHS history.

The strike, which began at 7 am on Tuesday 6 April, is part of an ongoing campaign by members of the British Medical Association (BMA) for better pay and conditions.

More than a quarter of a million appointments and operations could be cancelled, and some hospitals say up to half of planned treatment is affected.

The doctors are calling for full pay restoration to reverse the steep decline in pay faced by junior doctors since 2008/09, as well as an agreement with the government to prevent any future declines against the cost of living and inflation.

They also want to reform the DDRB (Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body) process so that pay increases can be recommended independently and fairly to safeguard the recruitment and retention of junior doctors.

According to the doctors, they have experienced a cut of more than 25% to their salaries since 2008/09, and the lack of investment in wages by the government has made it harder to recruit and retain junior doctors.

The UK government has so far refused to negotiate with the BMA on junior doctor pay restoration, leaving the doctors with no choice but to call for strike action.

The BMA has assured the public that plans have been put in place to pull doctors off picket lines if lives are in immediate danger. Under trade union laws, life-and-limb cover must be provided.

UK government Health Secretary Steve Barclay has criticized the action, calling it “extremely disappointing” and arguing that it risks patient safety.

The NHS, however, has assured patients that emergency and urgent care services will continue to operate as normal, and GP services are not impacted by the strikes.

The Countess of Chester Hospital is urging patients to attend appointments as planned unless they are contacted directly.

The hospital has issued the following advice:

Industrial Action: advice for patients

The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be affected by industrial action being taken by the British Medical Association (BMA) from 6.59am on Tuesday 11 April until 6.59am on Saturday 15 April.

Appointments and planned care

If we have not already told you that your appointment has been cancelled then please attend your appointment as planned.

We will contact any patients whose appointment will be affected by the planned industrial action. This will be done in advance of the scheduled appointment.

Emergency and urgent care

If you need urgent medical care please come forward as normal regardless of the strike action. This is especially important in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

GP services are not impacted by the strike action. Please continue to attend your GP appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.

Please use NHS services wisely during industrial action. We encourage people to use NHS 111 online as their first port of call for health needs and continue to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency (when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk).

GP services

GP services are not impacted by the strike action. Please continue to attend your GP appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.

Maternity services

If we have not contacted you directly, please attend any appointments that you have during the industrial action. All emergency maternity care will continue as normal.

Cancer services

If we have not contacted you directly, please attend any appointments that you have during the industrial action.

Please use the most appropriate NHS service for your care

The NHS is asking patients to use services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most.

This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency. NHS 111 has an online symptom checker available which can help you if you have a less urgent concern.

Our Emergency Department continues to be very busy so please only attend if you have an urgent concern.

Regardless of any strike action taking place, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

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