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Trust warns patients may come to harm if junior doctors’ strike goes ahead

Last updated: Thursday, 06 April 2023

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Photo of the exterior of St Thomas' Hospital

Clinical leaders at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust have called on the Government and unions to do everything in their power to stop the upcoming junior doctors’ strike.

As one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country, and a leading provider of local and specialist services for adults and children, staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ are worried about the impact of further delays in care and longer waits, including for those patients waiting for cardiac surgery and cancer treatment.

The Trust is also appealing for people to use urgent and emergency services appropriately during the strike period to help clinical teams prioritise those patients who need care most urgently. 

Dr Simon Steddon, Chief Medical Officer at Guy's and St Thomas', said: “On behalf of all of our patients, we are calling on the Government and unions to do everything in their power to stop the upcoming junior doctors’ strike - to find the common ground that means negotiations can resume and this industrial action is suspended.

“We are very concerned about the potential harm that may be caused by this strike, with further delays and longer waits for patients awaiting diagnosis and treatment. Many people whose appointments or procedures are being cancelled will now have experienced this on multiple occasions, which is incredibly distressing for our patients, and their friends and families.

“These four days of strikes come immediately after a four day bank holiday weekend. The days leading into and immediately after bank holiday weekends are always challenging for us, and this industrial action also comes at a time when large numbers of staff are on annual leave due to Easter holidays.

“We will do everything in our power to maintain patient safety next week but the impact of these strikes on patient care will be extensive and on a scale we’ve not seen before.

“We will absolutely still be there to treat patients who need urgent and emergency care, but our Emergency Department (A&E) is likely to be very busy. If you do need non-urgent medical advice, please try and use a different service such as NHS 111, your GP or a pharmacist to get the care you need.

“Junior doctors are a vital and valued part of our workforce, and we respect their right to take industrial action. We also believe that more needs to be done to ensure that this is a rewarding profession which encourages them to pursue their careers within the NHS. As clinical leaders we feel we cannot stand by while there is still a chance to avert this strike, and would urge all parties to get back round the table to negotiate.”

The Trust comprises five of the leading hospitals in the UK – Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, Harefield Hospital and Evelina London Children's Hospital. It also provides community services in Lambeth and Southwark.

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