Consultants at Ipswich Hospital given CPR refresher ahead of junior doctors' strike
PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 April 2016
Hospitals across the region are preparing for this week's two-day junior doctors' strike which is set to cause major disruption tomorrow and on Wednesday.
It is the first walk-out where junior doctors are not providing emergency cover – their work will be taken on by consultants.
As a result there have been many cancelled operations and out-patient appointments.
Ipswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme said preparations had been going on for some time preparing for the walk-out.
Consultants would be taking on work usually undertaken by junior doctors or registrars, and in some cases had had refresher training to ensure they were up to date with modern practices.
Mr Hulme said: “It has been some time since some consultants have used CPR, so they have had refresher sessions to ensure they are prepared.”
Switching consultants from their normal work has forced the cancellation of operations and clinics – something that had not happened to any great degree during earlier one-day strikes when junior doctors had provided emergency cover.
Mr Hulme said the hospital had made its plans on the assumption that the Accident and Emergency Department would see the same number of patients as usual.
He added: “I suspect the demand will be down as people look for alternatives, but our planning is all being done on the basis that it will be as busy as it would normally be.”
Senior members of staff – both medical and administrative – would be on hand in the hospital throughout the two strike days.
And hospital bosses had worked with the junior doctors to try to ensure all the planning meant emergency services could continue.
If there was a major emergency the medical director would be able to call on the junior doctors to leave the picket line and return to work.
Mr Hulme said: “We have had representatives of the junior doctors in our discussions to ensure everything is done to protect emergency services.”
NHS Suffolk said that while emergency departments at Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals would remain open, potential patients should seek treatment elsewhere if possible.
It urged people to try to use pharmacies or call NHS 111 instead of visiting hospitals.
Family doctors and nurses are expecting to be busy during this time, so please consider if your condition is urgent.
Patients with less urgent need who arrive at the Emergency Department may experience delays. Priority will be given to those with the most pressing health needs.
Mr Hulme said that once the strike was over, Ipswich Hospital would still have to cope with its legacy – re-arranging appointments and operations that had to be postponed this week.