Junior doctors are taking industrial action from 7am on Saturday 24 February until 11.59pm on Wednesday 28 February.
This action is very likely to have an impact on the services provided by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust at our hospitals: Hertford County Hospital, Lister Hospital, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre and the New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.
At all times, it is very important that you seek urgent care immediately if you need it – especially in emergency and life-threatening cases; if you are seriously ill or injured, or your life is at risk.
We will prioritise urgent and emergency care
Our main priority during the industrial action is to ensure that patients receive emergency and life-saving care when needed. We have strong contingency plans and we are working with our healthcare partners to ensure that essential services continue to run.
Because of the pressure our emergency and urgent care services are likely to be under during the industrial action, please only come to the emergency department at the Lister hospital if you have a serious injury or life-threatening emergency – for example heavy bleeding, severe chest pain or stroke-like symptoms.
Appointments and scheduled procedures may be postponed
We will contact you directly if your appointment needs to be changed. This will usually be by text, or we will phone the number we have for you if you don’t have a mobile phone. We will also phone you if the appointment change is at very short notice.
If you have not received a message or phone call from us, please continue to attend your appointment as scheduled, even if it is on the day of industrial action. We are doing all we can to ensure as many appointments and procedures can go ahead as possible, but in some cases, as a result of industrial action, we may need to postpone at short notice.
Please also keep an eye on our social media channels and review the information on this page regularly for up-to-date information on any late changes to appointments.
Getting healthcare during industrial action
During industrial action, healthcare services can be disrupted but not all services may be directly affected. For example, GP services may not be directly affected by industrial action, but they may be busier than usual as a result, which could create longer wait times. Please do remain patient and understand that health services are doing their best to provide care under challenging circumstances.
Please use NHS 111 if you are not sure where to get the care you need – either:
- Online at www.111.nhs.uk
- Call 111 from a phone – but please remember call handlers may be very busy during the industrial action
Please only call 999 if it is a medical or mental health emergency (when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk). Ambulances will still be able to respond in these situations, but this may only be where there is an immediate risk to life.
For more information on when to call 999 and when to go to A&E, you can visit the NHS UK website.
Helping your loved ones during their stay in hospital
We know how difficult it can be when a loved one is in hospital. There are things families and friends can do to support their loved one whilst they are in hospital and help them get home quickly once they are well enough:
- Encourage your loved one to ask the doctors and nurses looking after them “When am I going home?” At the end of the day nothing is better than a patient’s own bed and good sleep is important for recovery. At home they will have the comfort of their own bed without the noise and clatter of a busy hospital.
- Support your loved one with a steady routine and getting up and out of bed where possible Being in hospital can make it easier to just stay in bed, but lying down all day makes your muscles weaker. The longer a patient stays in a hospital bed, the harder they may find it to get up and about as they get better.
- Learn more about the Hospital at Home programme to see whether your loved ones are eligible to receive hospital-equivalent care in the comfort of their own home. Find out more about the programme on our website.
- Consider whether you would be able to take your loved one home when they are ready to be discharged This will ensure your loved one gets a comfortable journey home and means their discharge won’t be dependent on our busy patient transport service being available.
Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) are available to visit wards and clinics to talk to patients, relatives and carers about any concerns you may have.
Our PALS team, which covers the Lister, New QEII and Hertford County hospitals and the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, is based at the Lister. The team can be contacted on 01438 285811 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, if you wish to contact the Trust about anything else, you can do so through the main Trust Switchboard team on 01438 314333.
There is no statutory definition. However, it is generally considered to be concerted action by ‘workers’ to put pressure on their employer in relation to, for example, a dispute concerning terms and conditions of employment, and/or raise the profile of a concern about a national policy or decision taken by Government.
The planned dates for industrial action will affect the local services listed below, please note these dates may change:
- Saturday 24 February (7am) to Wednesday 28 February (11.59pm)
It is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned unless we have contacted you to postpone your appointment.
If we have not contacted you, even if it is on a day of industrial action, please attend your appointment.
If you need to contact the hospital, you can do so via the main switchboard on 01438 314333. Please bear with us if it takes us longer than usual to answer your call.
Alternatively, our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is available to support patients, carers, staff and the general public by listening to concerns, answering questions, providing ‘on the spot help’ by giving advice, information and more. You can contact PALS on 01438 285811 or by emailing email@example.com.
While the PALS team is based at Lister Hospital, they also cover Hertford County Hospital, the New QEII Hospital and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.
We will contact you in advance if we need to postpone your appointment – by text or by phone.
We are working very hard to minimise the number of appointments affected, and so this may mean your appointment is postponed at short notice.
We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you and we will be in touch with you either via a phone call or a letter with a new appointment date as soon as we can.
If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
No, if we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
No, we will contact you if your appointment needs to be postponed due to industrial action.
For all other health care needs, support will be available through NHS 111, via the NHS 111 helpline or at your local GP pharmacy.
Patients should only call 999 if seriously ill or injured, or there is risk to life. Ambulances will be dispatched where clinically appropriate.
GP services will be running as normal on days of industrial action – please continue to attend scheduled GP appointments unless you are contacted and told otherwise.
Please note that whilst GP services may not be directly affected by industrial action, they may be busier than usual as a result, which could create longer wait times. In such cases, it is important to remain patient and understand that health services are doing their best to provide care under challenging circumstances.