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NHS England prepares for 48-hour action by junior doctors

NHS England today said it is doing everything possible to ensure safe emergency care is being provided and to minimise the impact of the latest industrial action.

Advice has been issued to the public and patients as junior doctors prepare to take further industrial action from 8am tomorrow – this time for 48 hours.

NHS England once again expressed regret for the disruption patients will face and the fact that thousands of planned procedures will have to be rearranged, leaving people having to wait longer for treatment.

However, it is expected that careful planning in scheduling operations during the proposed period of industrial action will have minimised the numbers of cancelled operations.

Dr Anne Rainsberry, National Incident Director for NHS England, said: “This is clearly going to be a difficult couple of days. A 48-hour strike will put significantly more pressure on the NHS and the cumulative effect of these recurring strikes is likely to take a toll.

“The safety and care of patients is always our number one priority and staff across the NHS are doing all they can to minimise the impact on patients of the action.

“We will closely monitor events as they unfold to ensure plans to deal with the pressures are robust and people are ready to respond to any emerging difficulties.”

The public can expect:

Urgent and emergency care services will be available as normal but hospitals are expected to be under additional pressure. Where possible, people should contact their GP, seek advice from their local pharmacist, call NHS111 or consult the NHS Choices website. Where it is urgent or an emergency, people should call 999 or go directly to A&E.

GP services will be available as normal and we would encourage anyone who thinks they will need an appointment to organise this before industrial action begins.

Any patients who have procedures or appointments affected by industrial action will be contacted by the providers if they need to be rearranged.  Those with concerns about their procedure or appointment should check their hospital’s website for information.

People should take care of their own health over this period and look out for more vulnerable members of their families and communities. They should make maximum use NHS choices or NHS111 and local pharmacy services.

Estimates of the impact of the action:

228 organisations (100%) submitted their assurance, of which 154 are Acute Trusts. In terms of the 154 Acute Trusts who have submitted data:

The data collection identifies that the following elective procedures expected to be cancelled as a result of industrial action:

Inpatient – 2,077, including 2,042 on days of action (9 & 10 March)

Day case – 3,187, including 3,172 on days of action (9 & 10 March)

The London figures are:

Inpatient – 439, including 424 on days of action (9 & 10 March)

Day case – 644, all on days of action (9 & 10 March)

To set this into context, on a typical day the NHS carries out:

Activity Source 2014-15
(Rounded)
A&E attendances Monthly A&E situation reports, NHS England 61,000
Emergency ambulance journeys Category A calls resulting in an ambulance arriving at the scene of the incident, NHS England 8,600
NHS111 calls offered NHS111 monthly collection 35,000
Emergency admissions Monthly A&E situation reports, NHS England 15,000
Elective admissions MAR, G&A, NHS England 22,000
Operations HES (FCEs with a primary procedure or intervention), HSCIC 31,000
Outpatient attendances QAR (first and subsequent attendances seen, NHS England) 157,000
Diagnostic tests Diagnostic test waiting times, NHS England 52,000
Patients seen for suspected cancer Cancer waiting times (two week pathways), NHS England 4,200
Patients starting treatment for cancer Cancer waiting times (31 day pathways), NHS England 750

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