You may be aware that on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 February 2023, some Gateshead Health NHS nursing staff are taking part in the Royal College of Nursing’s national industrial action over NHS pay.
During strike action, we will prioritise urgent and emergency treatment and are working closely with our union representatives to ensure procedures are in place to maintain the safety, welfare and service to patients in our care.
If a planned procedure or outpatient appointment has to be rescheduled, patients will be contacted directly about this in advance. We appreciate this will be frustrating and apologise for any inconvenience caused. If patients have not heard from us, you should come into hospital as planned.
We will be re-arranging any postponed appointments as a priority.
Our Emergency Department will be open as normal, but if it is not an emergency, please consider options such as visiting a pharmacist, contacting your GP, or visiting 111.nhs.uk.
The NHS is already facing record demand on urgent and emergency care services – October and November were the busiest on record for A&E attendances and the most serious ambulance callouts.
Industrial action means these services will be under increased pressure so it is vital that people use the services available appropriately.
Patients should take advice from 111 / 999 call-handlers on whether there are circumstances where it is suitable for them to make their own way to hospital.
The NHS is also asking the public to play their part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.
Frequently asked questions
What is happening?
Trade unions representing NHS staff are in dispute with the Government over the 2022/2023 pay award. A number of the unions have balloted their NHS members to take part in industrial action. As a result members of the RCN, including staff at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, are striking on the 6 and 7 February.
North East Ambulance Service is preparing for further periods of industrial action following a dispute between trade unions and the Government over the 2022/23 pay award.
The next periods of industrial action is expected as follows:
- GMB members – from 06:00 on Monday, 6 February, until 06:00 on Tuesday, 7 February (24 hours)
- Unite members – from 00:01-23:59 on Monday, 6 February (24 hours)
- Unison members – from 07:00-19:00 on Friday, 10 February
The NHS wants to see a resolution as soon as possible, but pay is a matter for the Government and the trade unions.
What if I need urgent or emergency care?
Anyone who needs urgent care should use NHS111 online or call NHS 111 to be assessed and directed to the right care for them. When someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should seek emergency care in the normal way, by calling 999 or attending A&E.
What if I have an appointment on a strike day?
Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned, unless we have contacted you to reschedule. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as normal. If your appointment has been postponed and you were due to come into hospital using patient transport ambulance services, please let them know.
Will emergency care be affected on strike days?
Emergency care will continue to be available across all parts of the country. It is really important that in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or their life is at risk patients continue to come forward as normal.
Will GP services be affected on strike days?
GP services will be running as normal on strike days. Please continue to attend scheduled GP appointments.
When will I find out if my appointment is rescheduled?
We will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. This is likely to be a text, phone call or a letter and you should be offered an alternative date for your appointment. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
If my appointment is rescheduled, will I be put back to the bottom of the waiting list?
Any appointments that need to be rescheduled will be done so as a priority.
Is there anything I should do now?
No. We will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
Should I cancel my appointment on the day of strikes?
No, if we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
How long will services be impacted?
The nurses strikes on 15 and 20 December will last for 12 hours. However patients should be aware that it may take slightly longer for services to return to normal.
I have a loved one who will be a hospital inpatient on strike day – how will their care be affected?
All hospital patients will be informed on how their care will be impacted on a ward-by-ward basis by the staff involved in delivering their care.