Hospital consultants across the Humber are preparing for a second round of industrial action later this week.
The BMA has given notice of industrial action taking place among consultants on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 August, less than two weeks after a 96-hour period of strike action by junior doctors concluded.
With only a ‘Christmas Day’ level of consultant cover guaranteed, now hospital bosses across East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire are putting plans in place to manage the absence of some of the organisations’ most senior clinical decision-makers.
Simon Nearney, Director of Workforce for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust explains:
“Any large-scale staff absence is going to cause disruption for our hospital patients and for overall business continuity. At the current time, we do not know how many consultants plan to take strike action, however we are already in the peak summer holiday period when it’s more difficult to secure extra staffing support due to annual leave.
“Recognising the doctors have a right to strike, our job is to make sure the most essential services, such as critical care, emergency care, neonatal and trauma services can continue to operate safely. This does, however, mean that some of our non-urgent and routine work will need to be rescheduled as we divert resources, so some patients will regrettably have to wait longer for their care or treatment.
“We are guaranteed a Christmas Day level of consultant cover, of course, but demands for emergency care in particular are likely to be much higher than we’d expect to see on Christmas Day. With the potential for more limited medical staffing therefore, we are expecting long waits in A&E again, and would encourage anyone needing medical advice or routine treatment to use community services such as their GP, pharmacy or local urgent treatment centre or contact NHS111.”
In order to direct available staffing to the most critical services, some routine care including appointments and planned surgical procedures are being rescheduled. Patients who are affected will be contacted directly to discuss and rearrange. Anyone with an appointment due to take place on either 24 or 25 August who does not hear from their hospital team should continue to attend as planned.