'Robust plans' to reduce disruption at Wigan's hospitals as junior doctors strike for four days

Wigan’s health bosses are bracing for a busy few days as staff prepare to take further industrial action.
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Junior doctors in the British Medical Association are going on strike from 7am on Friday until 7am on Tuesday in their latest action in the ongoing dispute with the Government over pay.

Chiefs at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) say they have put “robust plans” in place to minimise potential disruption.

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Prof Sanjay Arya, medical director and consultant cardiologist at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustProf Sanjay Arya, medical director and consultant cardiologist at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Prof Sanjay Arya, medical director and consultant cardiologist at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
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Consultants will provide "Christmas Day cover”, which includes protecting emergency treatment, intensive care, newborn care, maternity, trauma and limited planned care.

People across the borough are being urged to help ease pressure on services during the strike by only going to hospital if essential.

WWL’s medical director Prof Sanjay Arya said: “We have seen a further increase in demand on our emergency department, with very high attendance figures putting our services under severe pressure, and whilst we are working hard within our hospitals and with partners from across health and social care within the Wigan borough, I must ask everyone to use our services appropriately.

“Patients should not put off seeking urgent or emergency care for life, limb and sight-threatening conditions, but we are once again asking people to use other NHS services available to ensure those with the most urgent and serious needs can be seen.

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“It’s really important that we are providing the right care for patients in the right place, and many of our patients are ready to return to their normal place of residence. Friends and loved ones of patients can help by supporting them through the discharge process, which will not only help to keep patients comfortable, but it will also free up hospital beds for our patients who desperately need acute care at WWL.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure patient safety, as always, remains our top priority, and with the support of the public and appropriate use of NHS services, we will be able to provide care and services for those who need it most.”

Dr Tim Dalton, co-chairman of the Healthier Wigan System Board, added: “Our NHS services will be extremely busy, not just during the strike days, but in these days building up to the industrial action and in the days and weeks following, which is why it is vitally important for everyone to access the most appropriate healthcare to suit their needs.

“By taking these positive actions, not only will this help people to get the care they need more quickly, but it will also ensure we are helping the most vulnerable members of our community, by freeing up urgent and emergency care services for those who truly need it.

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“We completely understand the frustrations of the public during times like these, and we are extremely grateful for the continued understanding and support.”

The strike will be followed by industrial action by consultants later this month, who are also fighting for improved pay.

Alternative sources of healthcare include NHS 111, pharmacies, GP surgeries, Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service and the mental health helpline on 0800 953 0285.

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