NHS braces for patient disruption caused by rail strike

NHS braces for patient disruption caused by rail strike

NHS is preparing for travel disruption during train and subway (PA) strike action (PA file)

NHS is preparing for travel disruption during train and subway (PA) strike action (PA file)

The NHS “remains open”, lead doctors said as the health service braces for disruptions caused by rail strikes.

Patients were instructed to plan appointments in advance.

And hospitals have made arrangements to ensure staff are on site, including setting up parking and transportation services and taxi-sharing facilities.

The strikes could have a particular impact on London hospitals, many of which have limited parking capacity for those considering driving to appointments as an alternative.

While the buses are still operating, they are expected to be busier than usual due to the strikes.

NHS patients have been urged to plan their travel ahead of next week's rail strikes (PA) (PA file)

NHS patients have been urged to plan their travel ahead of next week’s rail strikes (PA) (PA file)

Railroad strikes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are expected to cause disruptions to travel across the country.

Meanwhile, the strike will also disrupt the London Underground on Tuesday.

Many funds have asked patients to get in touch if they are unable to attend the appointment due to strikes.

Royal Free said in a statement: “Our hospitals will be open as normal, but please let us know in advance if you are unable to attend your appointment.”

King’s College Hospital said: “We recognize that some patients and visitors are likely to have difficulty accessing our hospitals on strike days, but also on days in between.

“We would like to assure patients and visitors that hospital services will continue as normal during this time.”

Meanwhile, patients were warned of potential delays if they were late for appointments due to travel disruptions.

Barts Health, one of London’s largest trusts, said in a statement: “Our team will be flexible with appointment times, allowing for the fact that patients may be delayed en route.

“Please note that you can expect a wait if you arrive after the specified time. If you are running late on the way to your appointment, please contact the team to let them know.”

Hospitals also warned of “busier than usual” parking lots, particularly trusts based on the outskirts of London.

As well as affecting patient consultations, strikes can also make it difficult for NHS staff to travel.

Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in London reminded patients that staff “will have the same difficulties traveling to provide consultations as you.”

Some trusts have taken extra steps to ensure staff coverage during travel disruption.

“The team will come, as usual, to make sure those who need us get the care they need. The trust has implemented a number of measures to ensure these employees are not affected,” Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said in a statement.

The Trust told PA it has established a temporary parking and ride service for staff working at the Epsom hospital and has also expanded its bus service.

Employees are also being encouraged to bike, walk or share a car, while those who can work from home are being asked to do so.

The NHS Trust of central and northwest London, which provides a range of services including mental health care and sexual health services, added: “Our wards will be fully equipped (we have plans to ensure staff can work)”.

On Friday, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director in England, said: “With railway strikes expected across the country in the coming week, I am asking those who have appointments to plan ahead and look at alternative options for arrive at the location. your GP clinic or hospital if needed.

“The NHS sees millions of people every week for urgent and routine care and it is vital that people access the care they need despite interruptions – the NHS remains open so please continue to come forward.”

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