NHS England has today said it will continue to make sure everything possible is being done to ensure safe emergency care is being provided and to minimise the impact of the action.
But it once again expresses 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: “We’ve already seen that a 48-hour strike puts considerably more pressure on the NHS and it’s deeply regrettable that 1000s of patients are still facing disruption because of this recurring action.
“As always, the safety and care of patients is our number one priority and everything possible is being done to make sure patients will still be able to access urgent and emergency services.
“Following closely on from the four day Easter break this will be a difficult period especially over the course of the second day. Consequently we have redoubled our planning efforts and will be closely monitoring events to make sure we can respond to any rising pressures.
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 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.