Ambulance boss warns Londoners to ‘plan ahead’ if they require medical help during NHS strike

Ambulance chiefs are warning Londoners to plan ahead and expect long delays during a ‘much more disruptive’ 24-hour NHS strike on Thursday.

Women in labour, people with broken bones, car crash victims and elderly people who fall and can’t get up will not be sent an ambulance if their condition is not considered life threatening.

The disruption will continue well into Friday as the service does it best to return to normal operations.

Chief Executive Dr Fionna Moore said: We will be unable to send an ambulance response to some patients with broken bones, some older people who may have fallen and cannot get up and some people in road traffic collisions where their life is not immediately at risk.

“We’d encourage Londoners to plan ahead, be sensible about their activities and be prepared should they need medical help on Thursday.”

The service is issuing advice to people on regular medication, those who have long term illnesses and older people for the period of industrial action which starts at 12.01am on Thursday.

They are asking friends and family of vulnerable people to make arrangements to support their relative, friend or neighbour – either by taking them to hospital or using other healthcare options such as Urgent Care Centres, pharmacies, their GP and NHS 111.

Dr Moore added: “Those looking after vulnerable groups – such as older people, children and people with long-term conditions – should be prepared to make alternative arrangements to get medical help or transport those in their care to hospital.”

Advice issued by the service includes:

  • If you are feeling unwell before Thursday January 29 do not to wait to get help, but to seek advice from your GP or pharmacist beforehand.
  • If you have a long-term or chronic condition and you are feeling unwell on January 29, try not to be alone if you think you may need support to either get to hospital or to access other healthcare options.
  • If you have regular medication – please make sure you have collected your prescription from the GP, have been to the pharmacist to collect it and have it to hand.
  • If you are under the care of a community health team, make sure that you have their contact numbers to hand.
  • If you are in the late stages of pregnancy please make check any arrangements you have made with friends or family to ensure that they can take you to hospital should you go into labour this Thursday, as we will not be able to send an ambulance.

This third period of industrial action is more significant than previous strikes because it is for 24 hours rather than four.

It’s in response to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to grant NHS staff a 1% pay rise as recommended by an independent pay review panel.

Picture courtesy of Captain Roger Fenton, with thanks

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