Further to previous communication (3 March), the Communications Team is reiterating key messages and information that may be helpful in preparing for and managing increased demand during this this strike action.
What services in the wider system are being stood down?
Some elective and outpatient appointments will be cancelled as a result of the industrial action. The Trusts in NCL have advised that patients will be notified of any changes to their appointments resulting from the strike action. If patients have not received a communication from the Trust, they should assume that the appointment is going ahead and attend their appointment as planned. Trusts will again contact patients directly to rearrange their appointments. Patients are being advised by Trusts to contact their lead clinician at the Trust as set out in their appointment letter if they have any concerns. They are not being advised to contact the practice.
Hospitals will prioritise emergency care and patients seeking urgent treatment will be seen and should attend as normal. Patients attending urgent care services may find that the wait is longer than usual.
Urgent referrals to the emergency department
For the duration of the junior doctor strike, please could you route any urgent referrals for the emergency department via NHS 111.
Support for practices during the strike
Practices should prioritise delivery of same-day urgent access, with planned care work stepped down where practices do not have the capacity to do this. This follows the response to previous action by junior doctors in 2016. We recognise that practices will want to carry on with planned care work where possible given the end of March deadline for QOF/IIF. Additional call handling capacity will be available in NHS 111 services to address the expected increase in demand.
For any generic issues or queries relating to the strike please contact Paul Sinden, General Manager, GP Practice Alliance.
Following the announcement of three-day industrial action by junior doctors running from Monday 13 March to Wednesday 15 March, the NHS will be carrying a higher level of clinical risk across both primary care and secondary care.
During the industrial action, support for primary care will focus on:
- The opening up of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) hub capacity for referrals from practices and NHS 111 for all conditions (not restricted to respiratory problems). This will run from Monday 13 March to Sunday 19 March, as the impact from previous strike action has indicated an increase in demand in the days following the action.
- Delivery of same-day urgent access in practices, with planned care work stepped down where practices do not have the capacity to do this. This follows the response to previous action by junior doctors in 2016. It is recognised that practices will want to carry on with planned care work where possible given the end of March deadline for QOF/IIF.
- Additional call handling capacity in NHS 111 services to address the expected increase in demand.
From 13 to 15 March, all trainees who are BMA members will be on strike, and this will have significant, but differential, impact across practices. Those practices with training posts are advised to plan rotas without these posts included; any trainees turning up for work will then be additional capacity.
Attached is the letter from Royal Free London, lead employer for GP trainees in NCL, which sets out advice and information for practices hosting junior doctors. Practices should have received this directly, but it is included here for information.
All practices may well also feel an indirect impact through hospital junior doctors being on strike including the impact from elective lists being cancelled.
For any queries, contact Nafisa Doma, Executive Assistant at NCL GP Provider Alliance.
This item was updated on 14 March to reflect the change to emergency care and urgent referrals and to add the following resource/s:
- Information for the public on industrial action
- Healthier Together
- information for parents of an ill child
- NHS Employers
- confirmed industrial action strike days.