NHS staff strike: A&E, operations and maternity wards worst hit

13 October 2014

NHS staff strike: A&E, operations and maternity wards worst hit

A four hour stoppage today could ‘distress and inconvenience’ patients with ambulance services suffering, and increased delays to operations and maternity ward services.

The first strike by NHS staff in England today over pay will mark the first of its kind in 32 years, with expected disruption to ambulance services and operations. Non-urgent caesarean sections and other elective operations will be delayed Monday

The action by nurses, midwives and other staff concerns pay rises but will inevitably lead to problems for important NHS services where prompt treatment, diagnosis, operative care and monitoring are vital to ensuring that no medical concerns are exacerbated, so potentially jeopardising ongoing patient care.

Maternity care wards, ambulance services & waiting lists worst hit

Of those areas particularly hit, ambulance services are likely to be the most affected. Those patients with a broken limb or trouble breathing have been warned to make their own way to hospital. This same warning was given to those women who are in labour and those involved in a minor road accident. Pregnant women are likely to face delays to their 12 or 20-week scans though trusts are saying they will try doing the procedures later on Monday or within days of the scheduled date.

Jason Killens, the London Ambulance Service’s director of operations, said it expected to be “under significant pressure” on Monday given the number of staff striking.

“We have plans in place to ensure we reach the most seriously ill and injured patients as quickly as possibleThese include all clinical managers working on the front line, the use of more private ambulance crews and support from other emergency services,” said Killens.

“However, people who need an ambulance response, but are not in a life-threatening situation, should expect to wait longer or may not get an ambulance at all,” he added.

The disruption will not end with just the strike on Monday with a four-day work-to-rule for the rest of the week, which NHS managers expect will bring further disruption.

“Only around 4% of more than one million NHS staff voted to take strike action on Monday. We hope many will make the right choice for patients and not participate in any industrial action”, said Rob Webster, its chief executive. NHS care providers are “pulling out all the stops to minimise disruption”, he added.

The disruption may impact patient care adversely with waiting lists being postponed and the extension of the list itself.

Mistreatment.com regularly receives enquiries from members of the public regarding their patient care and how extra demand for that care is not being met by the NHS whose £113bn budget is under pressure, especially with regard to ambulance and A&E services: two of the areas most drastically impacted by the strike action.

NHS staff regularly provides excellent work under strained budgets and limited time. However, certain elements of patient care cannot be jeopardised due to the often sensitive time between prognosis and subsequent treatment. Where this is not strictly adhered to and monitored, adverse consequences and avoidable harm can sometimes follow.

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