People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being asked to use health and care services sensibly next week and keep 999 and A&E departments clear for genuine life-threatening emergencies as nurses from all three hospitals in the region and ambulance workers prepare for strike action.
Royal College of Nursing members at the Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Bath, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Swindon and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust plan to stage industrial action on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 February 2023.
GMB members of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust also plan to strike on Monday 6 February and Friday 10 February.
The strikes are likely to affect services and may lead to cancelled appointments. However, patients should attend appointments as planned, unless contacted directly and asked not to do so.
Help is available from NHS 111 online or by phoning 111 for other urgent care needs. If patients are contacting 111, they are being asked to give as much information as possible in order to get the right support and advice.
Help is also available from local pharmacies who are able to give confidential and expert advice on common conditions and illnesses. A list of pharmacies is available on the NHS website at http://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy
GP services are not impacted by next week’s planned strike action and people should continue to attend GP appointments, unless they are contacted and told otherwise.
Regardless of any strike action taking place it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to use services as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board said:
“While the industrial action planned for next week is likely to cause disruption, we would like to assure people that local services are open and anyone needing medical help should come forward as normal.
We would like to pass on our thanks to local people for using services sensibly during previous periods of industrial action and are appealing to them, once again, to help during this difficult time by only using ambulance and A&E services if they really need to do so.”
Paul Birkett-Wendes, Wiltshire County Commander for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), said:
“As we look ahead to industrial action on Monday and on Friday 10 February, we are again asking for the public’s support. Please only call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, because we absolutely must have crews available for those, and we will be prioritising these patients first.
“This means there will be other patients waiting for an ambulance, and we will get to them as soon as we can. We are sorry that we may be unable to respond to them as quickly as we would like.
“If you are waiting for an ambulance, please do not call back asking for an estimated time of arrival. We cannot provide this information and it blocks our lines for other callers.
“Please be reassured that we are doing all we can to manage winter pressures and the upcoming industrial action.”