No drop in demand for emergency care despite strike by junior doctors

Communications TeamNews

Ambulance parked outside the entrance to Hull Royal Infirmary's Emergency Care Department

Hospital workers are appealing to the public to use alternatives to A&E to ensure they can focus on the most seriously ill.

Staff in Hull Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Department have reported seeing almost 400 people yesterday. This figure, which is the equivalent of a new patient arriving every four minutes, is on par with normal Monday attendance figures despite junior doctors starting a 72 hour walk-out at 7am yesterday.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has committed to maintaining essential services throughout the period of industrial action, including emergency care, critical care and neonatal services for seriously ill babies, but the industrial action is adding to an already pressurised system.

Dr Biju Cherian

Dr Biju Cherian

Dr Biju Cherian, consultant in emergency medicine for the Trust says:

“Mondays are always our busiest day in the Emergency Department, but unlike the recent ambulance strikes where there have been notable reductions in calls to the service on some strike days, the number of people attending for emergency care has remained very similar to a normal working day.

“Many patients told us they were unaware of the junior doctors being on strike when they arrived in the department, and others didn’t want to go to another health service even when told they’d be seen more quickly.

“While the junior doctors strike is ongoing, we will of course ensure that we maintain emergency care services, and we have senior consultants and other experienced healthcare practitioners working alongside us to ensure those service remain safe.

“However, at a time of significant pressure and as the major trauma centre for the region, it’s important that we dedicate the resources we have to caring for the most seriously ill and those with life threatening injuries.

“Roughly one in five patients attending ED yesterday presented with a problem which was not immediately urgent or could have been managed within a primary care setting such as an urgent treatment centre, GP service or a local pharmacy – services which are not affected by the junior doctor industrial action.

“We always need patients to make best use of the community health services available to them, but it’s especially important at the current time.”

Patients arriving at Hull Royal Infirmary’s emergency department with non-urgent health needs over the coming days may be invited to seek treatment elsewhere as staff continue to juggle service demands. Anyone who chooses to stay in the department will face significantly lengthy waits.

Patients seeking medical advice can go online to NHS111 – or call 111, 24 hours a day.

A list of local pharmacies can be found on the NHS website, and walk-in care/treatment for minor injuries is available from the following centres, all of which are open late into the evening or round-the-clock:

  • Hull – Story Street walk-in centre
  • Bransholme – Urgent Treatment Centre within Bransholme Health Centre, Goodhart Road (open 24hrs)
  • Beverley – Urgent Treatment Centre within East Riding Community Hospital, Swinemoor Lane
  • Goole – Urgent Treatment Centre within Goole & District Hospital, Woodland Avenue
  • Bridlington – Urgent Treatment Centre within Bridlington Hospital (Entrance A), Bessingby Road