Junior doctors' strike - Call ahead if you have a planned operation say Bedford Hospital bosses

Plans are in place at Bedford Hospital to keep patients safe ahead of the junior doctors' strike planned for today and tomorrow.

The Hospital has over 100 junior doctors working across both South and North Wings that work on various rotas over a wide range of specialities.

On days during strike action, the hospital has announced that whilst many hospital services will be unaffected, some non-urgent planned operations and appointments may have to be cancelled in order to ensure vital urgent care services are delivered safely.

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>The Trust is advising that all patients who have a planned operation on a day with strike action will be phoned by the hospital (with as much notice as possible) to inform them whether or not their operation will go ahead.

>Patients with other appointments such as diagnostic and outpatient appointments will only be contacted if their appointment needs to be cancelled, otherwise they should attend as planned.

>f any patient is unsure whether their operation or other appointments will be going ahead on any of the strike days, or they would like to check, they can contact the number on their hospital appointment letter.

Karen Ward, Bedford Hospital Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are working hard to minimise the impact on our patients.

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“As of yet, no planned operations have been cancelled for April 6 or 7 due to the industrial action but we will inform patients as quickly as possible if this changes.

“We have tried and tested plans from the last strike in place to make sure that safe patient care is provided.

“For example, during the previous strike actions, pharmacists accompanied doctors on their wards to help ensure smooth and efficient discharge of patients continued.”

The Trust would also like to remind local residents about using A&E services wisely.

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Ms Ward added: “As always, 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.”

Further information on getting the care you need is available at www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk.