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Our focus turns to recovery and re-booking appointments affected by last week’s strike

Surrey’s NHS thanks local people for their support as the focus turns to recovery and re-booking appointments affected by last week’s strike.

Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership – which brings together NHS organisations and wider partners across Surrey – has thanked people living in Surrey for their support, following the biggest strike action in the NHS’ history last week, which led to over 400 operations and 2,500 outpatient appointments being rescheduled locally (see note to editors), following industrial action by junior doctors who are part of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA).

Dr Charlotte Canniff, Joint Chief Medical Officer for Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System and Surrey GP explains:

Working together across health and care organisations, we had planned for disruption to some services, where we knew this couldn’t be avoided, as we prioritised critical care, trauma and other essential services. Unfortunately, this meant some outpatients appointments and planned operations had to be rescheduled.

We did see an impact and we now know at its peak, over 400 junior doctors working in organisations across Surrey Heartlands took part in this latest period of industrial action. As a result, over the four day period, as a system, we rescheduled over 450 planned procedures and over 2,500 outpatients appointments as our frontline teams focused on delivering critical care and other life-saving services to our patients.

We appreciate some people will have been directly affected and our teams continue to work incredibly hard to get appointments re-scheduled as quickly as possible.

Ahead of the strike period, we asked members of the public for their support in using services responsibly and appropriately and helping us keep A&E and 999 for medical emergencies. The public responded - where we saw a reduction in people accessing local services over the strike days - and we would like to thank them for their support.

Dr Canniff added:

Following periods of industrial action there is more pressure on local services, and we are already seeing services are getting busier. We are asking people to be patient, particularly if services are busier and waits are longer than usual, and be kind to our staff, who are working incredibly hard – and doing their best to help.

A key focus for us over the coming days is on discharging people from hospital when they are medically fit and ready to leave so they can continue their recovery in their own surroundings, which is usually where they want to be. Any support families and friends can provide to get relatives and friends home makes a big difference because it helps get people home as quickly as possible and it also eases pressure on patient transport services, which are also busy.

Following last week’s period industrial action, as the system gets busier, we are encouraging residents to continue to use services responsibly and appropriately:

  • People should continue to use 111 online as the first port of call for urgent health advice – when it’s not a medical emergency - or call 111 if people do not have access to the internet.
  • People should only use 999 and A&E for serious or life-threatening conditions or medical emergencies (when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk).
  • If people’s appointments or procedures have been affected by industrial action the local NHS will contact people directly to reschedule them as soon as possible.


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