Hospitals prepare for a challenging bank holiday weekend and strikes
Up to 2,000 nurses at St George’s are entitled to strike this bank holiday weekend leaving services severely disrupted across south west London.
Members of the public are urged to come forward for care in life threatening situations, but others are advised to use NHS 111 first to be directed to the most suitable place for their care – ensuring, ultimately, that care continues to be available for those who need it most.
The strike action will impact services at St George’s Hospital in Tooting and Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton and will start at 8pm on Sunday (30 April) and last for 28-hours – ending on Monday 1 May at 23:59.
The public are advised that going to an emergency department when it’s not life-threatening doesn’t mean they will be seen more quickly and they may be redirected to a more appropriate service such as a pharmacy or GP.
GP surgeries and pharmacies can help with treatments for illnesses such as tonsillitis, coughs, colds and earaches, while injuries like sprains and strains can be treated at home.
If your medical need is less urgent, or think you need to speak to a GP, you should use NHS 111 online first as this can direct you to where you need to go.
If you’re worried about your child or if they have a high temperature, you should also use NHS 111.
Members of the public are also encouraged to pick up repeat prescriptions ahead of the bank holiday weekend.
Natilla Henry, Site Chief Nursing Officer at St George’s, said: “We usually see more demand on bank holidays, and this weekend we have the additional pressures of the strike action. We are preparing for a very challenging few days, and expect to be very busy.
“We’re here – as always – for those who need care. But there is going to be a significant impact on our services, and I’d urge everyone who needs less urgent care to use NHS 111 as their first port of call.”
During the strikes, some appointments, procedures and operations may be postponed to ensure emergency care can be prioritised – but people should still come forward for care.
Ms Henry added: “It’s really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially when it’s life-threatening. I’d also like to remind people to come forward for their appointments, unless they hear otherwise. We will let you know if your appointment needs to be rescheduled.”