Bank Holiday and Industrial Action

April 27, 2023

Cheltenham A&E to temporarily close from Friday 28 April (8pm) to Tuesday 2 May (8am). Emergency care services at Gloucester A&E only during this period

Disruption to other Community Minor Injury and Illness units and planned care appointments also expected on RCN strike day

To ensure the NHS is in the strongest possible position from Friday, leaders are strongly urging local people to only access Gloucester A&E or 999 if their condition is life threatening or very serious and to use 111 to get advice on the right care for them.

They say it will be critical that people follow this essential advice as the NHS heads into a bank holiday weekend with RCN industrial action also set to go ahead on Sunday, 8pm. The industrial action will pose substantial challenges to patient care.

The local NHS remains focused on ensuring that those patients with life and limb threatening injuries and illnesses can access emergency services. It means the NHS will have to significantly reduce other services to enable them to redeploy available staff.

The NHS is alerting people to temporary changes to Cheltenham General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department that will come into effect at the end of this week. The A&E at Cheltenham will be closed to all patients from Friday 28 April (8pm) until Tuesday 2 May (8am).

During this period, patients with life threatening conditions and serious injuries should call 999 or attend A&E at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

These timings will support preparation, minimise disruption to patient care and enable available emergency care staff, including nurses, to come together to keep patients safe.

On Monday (RCN industrial action), the intention is to keep as many of the county’s Community Minor Injury and Illness Units open as possible, but the level of coverage is subject to safe staffing levels on the day.

The public are advised to use the local MIIU phone line – 0300 421 7777 or 111 to check availability and to book appointments at the most suitable Unit to meet their needs. Live information about the Units will also be available here.   

During the industrial action, community physical health and mental health services will be prioritised to ensure patients most in need are supported. This will include the continued provision of mental health crisis, palliative and end of life care and any time sensitive, complex community care for vulnerable adults and children.

Patients who have a planned hospital operation, procedure or outpatient appointment during this period should attend as usual unless they hear from their NHS Trust to advise otherwise. However, given the need to ensure safe staffing arrangements in emergency care and other critical services, some appointments will need to be rearranged.

There will be no disruption to patient visiting arrangements. 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 they are asking people to be wary of ‘message fatigue’ concerning NHS pressures and industrial action:

“As we head to into the Bank Holiday and the period of industrial action, it is critical that local people continue to follow essential advice about services.

The days ahead will bring substantial challenges to the local NHS 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 during an incredibly busy period.

We cannot emphasise enough how important it will be to keep A&E at Gloucester 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.”

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