London Chief Nurse urges careful planning over bank holidays

With a slew of bank holidays coming up in the coming month, the capital’s Chief Nurse is urging Londoners to plan your health needs carefully.

Hospital pass: the NHS is asking the public to organise their health needs to manage bank holidays and strikes

The first bank holiday is May Day on Monday, but there’s also a 48-hour strike planned across London by the Royal College of Nursing, including at St George’s, Tooting.

RCN members are expected to go on strike from 8pm on Sunday, April 30, until 8pm on Tuesday, May 2. This will obviously cause some disruption around those with hospital appointments booked for next Tuesday.

There is no strike action planned by nurses working at Croydon’s Mayday Hospital. A spokesperson at Croydon’s Mayday Hospital said, “Our nurses did not vote to strike so will be working as usual during this period of industrial action.

“We are here ready to care of our community over the weekend.”

Some Unite union members at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in central London are planning to strike from Monday May 1 to Wednesday May 3. NHS London says that the strikes “will inevitably have another huge impact on NHS services, especially coming directly after the upcoming bank holiday”.

They say: “It is therefore vital that Londoners use emergency services appropriately to ensure emergency care is available to patients who need it most.”

Jane Clegg is the Chief Nurse for the NHS in London, and she is advising the public to order their repeat prescriptions early and to stock up on any medication for existing health conditions.

Over the long weekends, some GP surgeries and pharmacies may be closed or working reduced hours, so it is important to take this into consideration when planning for their healthcare needs.

Pharmacies open over the long weekend can be found on the NHS Find a Pharmacy site.

NHS 111 online remains the best first port of call for people with urgent medical or dental care needs, where a trained adviser “will provide the best care pathway”.

Prepare early: NHS London’s Jane Clegg

Clegg said, “While many NHS services will still be open over the bank holiday, we anticipate emergency departments to be busier than usual. This is also in part due to a significant proportion of our NHS workforce planning strike action from Sunday evening.

“It is therefore important for people to prepare early where possible, to look after themselves, friends and family with any long-term health conditions and avoid any preventable trips to A&E.

“If you are in an emergency life or limb situation, it is important to call 999 as soon as you can, as we will be prioritising urgent and emergency care during this time.

“However, if you are not sure if you need to visit A&E for a medical problem, NHS 111 online will give you fast healthcare advice and treatment.”

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