An NHS trust which runs hospitals in east London has warned people who do not need emergency care that they face “extremely long” waits if they attend its A&Es during strike action.
Ambulance staff that are members of union Unison are walking out across the capital today (December 21) between 12pm and midnight in a dispute over pay and staffing.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs Queen’s Hospital in Romford and King George Hospital in Goodmayes, has issued advice to patients needing care during the industrial action.
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A trust spokesperson said people should still call 999 if suffering a “life-threatening” mental health or medical emergency.
Examples they gave included unconsciousness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe loss of blood and choking.
But they said anyone needing urgent but not life-threatening treatment should vist 111’s website at 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you cannot get help online.
The BHRUT spokesperson added: “Anyone coming to our departments who does not need emergency care will face extremely long waits and it’s likely our services will continue to be under pressure in the days following the strike.”
Anyone who needs to go to one of its hospitals but is not an emergency case should make their own way if possible, they continued.
The trust also warned anyone planning a home birth that an ambulance “may not reach you if you get into difficulty”.
BHRUT chief executive Matthew Trainer said: “We’re working closely with the NHS and local authorities across north east London to manage the impact of industrial action by ambulance staff.”
For more advice and information, visit bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/get-the-right-care-for-you.