We have put in place contingency plans for the forthcoming industrial action by junior doctors scheduled for Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April 2016.
We have been working with all of our doctors, to ensure that there will be sufficient cover to enable us to provide our patients with a safe service. Our senior doctors will be helping to provide this cover on wards and in key areas such as the Emergency Department, Maternity and Intensive Care.
Industrial action does affect our ability to deliver planned care, such as planned procedures, operations and outpatient appointments. Therefore, we are reducing our levels of planned activity accordingly.
If you are a patient with an appointment, please continue to attend as normal. Any patients affected by the strike action will be notified in advance.
We recognise how very difficult this is for patients who have their appointments or operations postponed. We are doing everything we can to reschedule them for as soon as possible.
We respect our doctors’ right to take industrial action. Here at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, we have 546 doctors who fall under the category of ‘junior doctors’. The term junior does not do them justice. This group includes some very experienced doctors, including our Foundationi doctors working at year 1 or year 2, Core Traineesii, Specialty Registrar doctors and Trust-funded junior doctors.
They are a crucial and much valued part of our care team. We meet regularly with them – senior staff including our Chief Executive and Medical Director – and members of the Board attend the junior doctors’ mess to answer questions, address concerns and receive feedback.
As with all industrial action in the past, we work with the unions in question, in this case the British Medical Association (BMA) and the British Dental Association (BDA), to put in place plans to ensure the safe continued care of patients.
Our doctors have the interests of their patients at heart and abide by their own professional GMC guidanceiii.
It is important to note that no member of staff at this Trust has ever compromised patient care by taking strike action.
On the contrary, the commitment and professionalism of healthcare staff always comes through in the shape of exemplary co-operation to ensure the continued safe care of patients. In the past, for example, small teams of staff have split a day’s industrial action between them in order to continue to provide a limited service for patients.
In addition to the plans we have put in place within the hospital, we have also been working with our partner organisations to support us with discharging patients, who no longer need to be in hospital, to an appropriate setting for them. In addition:
- The Cumberland Minor Injuries Unit in Plymouth will be open until 2200, with additional staff on duty
- Devon Doctors will be providing additional GPs
- 111 will be providing additional clinicians and call handlers
i A Foundation doctor (FY1 or FY2) is a grade of medical practitioner in the United Kingdom undertaking the Foundation Programme – a two-year, general postgraduate medical training programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training.
ii Core Medical Training is the two-year part of postgraduate medical training between Foundation Year 1 and 2 and the medical subspecialties.
iii The GMC’s core guidance, Good Medical Practice, does not prevent doctors from taking part in industrial action. However, any doctor contemplating industrial action must follow GMC guidance, which makes it clear that they must make the care of their patient their first concern.
‘Doctors should take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that arrangements are in place to care for their patients and should not disrupt the arrangements employers have made. Doctors have a responsibility for continuity and coordination of care, and for the safe transfer of patients between different teams. Their actions must not harm patients or put them at risk. http://www.gmc-uk.org/news/28249.asp