Wigan patients should still get 'urgent medical care' if needed as nurses and ambulance workers prepare to strike
Wigan’s hospitals boss has urged patients to still seek medical treatment when nurses and ambulance workers go on strike.
Royal College of Nursing members at several NHS organisations – including Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) – will take industrial action on the same day as Unite and GMB members of North West Ambulance Service.
They will all walk out on Monday, with nurses holding a further day of strikes on Tuesday.
The ambulance service also faces strikes by staff from Unison on Friday, February 10, while physiotherapists at some hospitals are taking industrial action on Thursday.
It comes just days after bosses at WWL declared a “critical incident” for the second time this winter.
Silas Nicholls, chief executive of WWL and co-chairman of Greater Manchester’s System Operational Response Taskforce, said: “The NHS in Greater Manchester is working extremely hard to keep services running and to keep people safe during industrial action taking place this month and next.
“While strikes will cause inevitable disruption to services, local NHS teams have tried to maintain as many appointments as possible, so it is important people attend appointments as planned unless they have been contacted for it to be rearranged.
“Regardless of any industrial action taking place, it is important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
“During previous strikes, the public responded as we’d asked them to and used our emergency services appropriately for very serious and life-threatening incidents. We are once again asking people to use NHS services wisely and to carefully consider whether they need our services now, especially as the impact of the industrial action will be felt across the NHS.”
The NHS in Greater Manchester is asking people to only call 999 or go to an A&E department in a medical or mental health emergency.
Ambulances will still respond during the strike, but only where there is an immediate risk to life.
Anyone not facing an emergency who cannot wait to speak to a GP is advised to use NHS 111 online or call 111 if it involves a child under five.
Staff at GP surgeries, pharmacies and dentistry are not on strike.