'Disruption' expected at Wigan's hospitals as junior doctors and consultants go on strike together
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The number of appointments and procedures axed due to strikes across England surpassed one million following the first co-ordinated strike by junior doctors and consultants in history last month.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has cancelled 6,163 treatments over the last year.
NHS England warned “thousands” more appointments were expected to be rescheduled over the course of this week due to another period of industrial action, as the pay dispute between the Government and British Medical Association continues.
Hospital bosses are expecting severe disruption to services again as junior doctors and hospital consultants strike at the same time – as they did last month – and provide “Christmas Day” staffing only from 7am today until 7am on Thursday.
Patients with appointments at hospitals are asked to attend these as planned, unless told otherwise, while NHS 111 Online is recommended for all non-emergency healthcare.
WWL’s medical director Prof Sanjay Arya said: “Please be assured that the safety of our patients is always our top priority and we have worked hard to put plans in place to ensure minimal impact on the quality and timeliness of the care you, your relative or someone you care for receives over these days.
“In the days following previous strike action there has been an increase in demand on our emergency department (A&E), with very high attendance figures putting our services under severe pressure. I must ask everyone to use our services appropriately, whilst our staff continue to work hard within our hospitals and with partners from across health and social care within the Wigan borough to meet this demand.
“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.
“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.”
Dr Tim Dalton, co-chairman of Healthier Wigan, added: “As we have seen throughout all the industrial action during the past nine months, our NHS services in Wigan borough and across the region have been extremely busy. We expect that to continue during the consultant and junior doctor strikes this week.
“If you need medical help or advice during the strikes, please remember that pharmacies can offer lots of advice and information and that NHS111 online and on the phone can support you with getting the help you need. Please only use A&E if you really need it and have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury.”