Cheltenham A&E to remain open during next phase of Doctors’ industrial action after announcement on cover arrangements

Disruption expected to planned hospital care – patients advised to attend appointments as usual unless advised directly by the Trust

Local NHS leaders have confirmed that the two A&E Departments in Gloucester and Cheltenham will remain open during the latest phase of coordinated strike action, but have appealed for the public’s continuing support in the run up and across the 3 days.

Residents are being strongly advised to only attend A&E or call 999 if their condition is serious or life-threatening. If people have an urgent care need, but are not sure which service to use, they are asked to visit in the first instance or call 111 for advice.

The BMA has announced that doctors will provide emergency cover (Christmas Day level of service) during the period of industrial action.

This level of industrial action means that the A&E Department at Cheltenham can remain open (8am – 8pm consultant-led, 8pm – 8am nurse-led). However, services are expected to be under great pressure.

Whilst the NHS locally is making plans to keep essential services available, leaders have warned that the strike will cause unavoidable disruption, particularly as it gets underway immediately after the weekend.

Given the need to ensure safe staffing arrangements in emergency care and other critical services many planned outpatient appointments, procedures and operations will need to be rearranged.

Patients are being advised to attend appointments as usual throughout the period of industrial action unless they hear directly from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to inform them otherwise.

There will be no disruption to patient visiting arrangements on these days. However, the local NHS Trusts are asking relatives and carers to do everything they can to work with their staff to get their loved ones home from hospital as quickly and as safely as possible, with additional support, if necessary, from local NHS community services or adult social care teams.

Chief Medical Officer at NHS Gloucestershire, Dr Andy Seymour said:

“The latest round of coordinated strike action will bring substantial challenges to the local NHS, particularly hospital services, and we are sorry that many patients will experience disruption to services.

“One Gloucestershire health and care partners are working closely together to ensure those in greatest need continue to have access to high quality care and support.

“We cannot emphasise enough how important it will be to keep A&E and 999 clear for life threatening conditions and serious injuries.

“The public can help by thinking carefully about their healthcare options and getting advice when needed from NHS 111. Advice will also be available through local NHS social media channels.”


Notes to Editors

Getting healthcare advice

Many parts of the NHS – hospitals, community services and GP practices – are likely to feel the impact of the industrial action – either directly or indirectly – so local people are being urged to use services responsibly.

If people have an urgent care need, but are not sure which service to use, they are asked to visit in the first instance or call 111 for advice. The 111 phone service can book people into local NHS services if required, but is likely to see an increase in calls.

111 online and the local ASAP Glos NHS website and app can provide information on the services provided by Community Pharmacies, GP surgeries, including the Gloucester Health Access Centre, Community Minor Injury and Illness Units and A&E.

A number of Community Hospital Minor Injury and Illness Units (MIIUs) across the county will be open on the days – 8am to 8pm. People can check on the best Unit to meet their needs and book an appointment by calling the local MIIU line: 0300 421 7777 or 111.

On the day service updates and advice on the industrial action will be available through local NHS social media channels and websites.

Further public information about the industrial action, including FAQs, has been published by NHS England and can be found here.