Shropshire Star

Shropshire health bosses say 'plans are in place' as latest hospital strike action starts

The latest round of industrial action hits Shropshire's hospitals today, with tomorrow set to see junior doctors and consultants walking out together.

The strikes are the latest industrial action to hit county health services

Local health bosses have offered reassurance over the situation saying they have "plans in place which will ensure we have safe levels of care for patients".

Today sees consultants taking their latest strike action from 7am – offering only 'Christmas Day cover'.

Tomorrow, will see both junior doctors and consultants providing 'Christmas Day cover' from 7am.

Junior doctors will then be on a full walkout for Thursday and Friday.

The situation is likely to add to the strain on the county's under-pressure hospitals, particularly Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford – both managed by Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

The action is also expected to impact the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, near Oswestry.

Dr Nick White, chief medical officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, asked for the public's help as they deal with the strikes, but urged people to attend any scheduled appointments – and not to put off seeking help in an emergency.

He said: “People should know we have plans in place which will ensure we have safe levels of care for patients who do need urgent help during the joint strikes.

"Junior doctors and consultants will provide Christmas Day cover, meaning our emergency services will remain open but a significant amount of planned care treatments and outpatient appointments will be impacted. If you have a planned appointment, please come in as expected, unless you hear otherwise.

“The NHS is asking patients to choose services wisely during the industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most.

"This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency."

Dr White added: "GP practices and local pharmacies will remain open as normal but are expected to be busier than usual as a result. Also, please consider using your local Minor Injury Unit in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch. These can provide rapid treatment for injuries and illnesses that don’t require emergency hospital care.

“Finally, if you have a loved one or family member in hospital, please do everything possible to help us get them home as soon as they are well enough to leave hospital. Freeing up beds for people who need them will be an important element of supporting our all of our services, including the emergency services.”