Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is working closely with GP surgeries, local hospitals and other health and care services to address the pressures which may emerge as a result of junior doctors’ strike.
Dr Alvin Low, Chair of BCCG said: “We have advised GP surgeries across Bedfordshire that training sessions and meetings are cancelled for the duration of the strike, and GPs who are not scheduled to be work those days in their practice have been asked to consider doing extra shifts to support the urgent care of patients.
“It is important to remember that the NHS will be working as normal, and emergency care will continue to be provided in our hospitals by senior doctors and other clinicians, and by any junior doctors who chose not to join the strike on those days.”
To help people find the best care during the strike, visit www.nhs.uk/strike which has information about extended services being provided in local areas.
If you have a planned operation/procedure or outpatient appointment on the day when the industrial action is taking place, your hospital will contact you if it needs to be rearranged. If you have not been contacted, check the hospital website for additional advice.
Karen Ward, Bedford Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We would like to reassure the public that we have robust plans in place at the hospital and will continue to work hard to minimize any impact on our patients. We would like to remind local residents to consider alternatives to A&E first, such as pharmacists, GP surgeries and the NHS 111 service unless it is an injury or an emergency.
Choosing the right service for your needs helps us to focus our attention on the most seriously unwell patients and can also save you time.”
Marion Collict Director of Operations at Luton & Dunstable Hospital said: “We have plans in place to ensure we provide a safe service throughout the strike, particularly anyone who needs emergency or urgent care. We will run as many outpatient appointments and planned operations and procedures as possible on both days, but have had to postpone some appointments and we are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.”
Here is a reminder about what the NHS provides to help you choose the right care for you:
· Your GP practice will be open as usual the days of industrial action, but may be busier than usual, so please contact them early if you need advice or an appointment. Check your practice website or www.nhs.uk/strike to find out if they are open for longer.
· If you have regular medication please make sure you don’t run out - collect your prescription from your GP or pharmacist and keep any medication at hand where you need it.
· Find all local NHS services at www.nhs.uk – including dentists, pharmacies, walk-in centres and local doctors’ surgeries.
· If you need medical help fast call 111 if it’s not an emergency, to get clinical advice, or contact your GP: the out of hours service means a GP is available 24 hours a day, every day.
· You can see a nurse or doctor without an appointment about minor injuries and everyday ailments at NHS Walk-in centres which are open every day. In Putnoe, Bedford, the walk-in centre is open 8.00am - 6.30pm and in Luton, it opens 8.00am – 8.00pm.Pharmacists are the first port of call for many common illnesses and ailments, and can offer advice on medication without the need for an appointment, conveniently on your local high street.
· A&E is always just for patients with serious and life threatening conditions. So as usual, only those patients with serious and life threatening conditions should visit their A&E to ensure that hospitals can treat those who most need it.