We have plans in place to enable us maintain a safe service to patients on Wednesday 30 November, when some of our staff will take part in industrial action over the government’s proposed changes to public sector pensions.
(We have prepared a text transcript for site visitors who are visually or hearing impaired).
While this is a national dispute, we expect some of our services to be affected and are advising people to use our service wisely.
We have worked closely with the unions to ensure that 999 calls will be answered and to enable us to respond quickly to our most seriously ill and injured patients.
Depending on how busy we are, patients with less serious conditions may have to wait longer than usual for us to respond. Where appropriate, we will provide clinical advice over the phone to callers, and we will ask some people to consider going to other places for treatment, for example, their GP or their local pharmacy or walk-in centre.
Our Patient Transport Service, which takes people to pre-arranged hospital appointments, will be running a reduced service. We will take high dependency patients, such as those needing dialysis or cancer care, to their appointments. However, we will not be able to provide transport for patients who do not fall into the high-dependency category.
If you have an outpatient appointment booked for Wednesday, and you are not a high dependency patient, we advise that:
- you check with the hospital or clinic that your scheduled appointment is still going ahead
- you arrange your own transport if possible
- if you cannot arrange alternative transport, you contact the hospital, clinic or GP that made the original booking to make alternative arrangements.
We would urge people to use their ambulance service wisely on Wednesday and consider other healthcare options before calling 999, so that we are able to respond to life-threatening emergencies.
Healthcare services that are available if it’s not an emergency:
A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the counter medicine and getting plenty of rest. This is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries and will ensure that you receive the rest and recovery you need to get well.
NHS Direct has a range of health and symptom checkers available online at www.nhs.uk/nhsdirect. The online checkers will provide the same advice that would be offered to people who call NHS Direct.
People who would prefer to speak to someone, who don’t have internet access or who think a further discussion is needed about their symptoms, can call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
Pharmacies can be found in local areas across London. Your local pharmacist can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Visit a pharmacist when you are suffering from a common health problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor.
GP surgeries can be found across London. You can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions. In an emergency, a GP can also visit your home outside of opening hours – if you need this service, telephone your local surgery and follow the recorded instructions.
NHS walk-in centre, urgent care centre, or minor injuries unit
Walk-in centres, urgent care centres and minor injuries units give healthcare and advice. Most are open from early in the morning until late at night. You do not need an appointment, and you will be seen by an experienced nurse or GP.
Visit one of these centres if you need medical treatment or advice which does not need a visit to A&E or a medical appointment.
Always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk.