Strikes Hit Hospitals, Schools, on Day of Action

Council say they expect most services to operate

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West Middlesex Hospital has asked people to avoid using A&E during today's (Wednesday, November 30th) strike unless it is a real emergency.

Nearly all state schools in Chiswick closed for 24 hours because of the walk out by public sector unions over changes to pensions, but Hounslow Borough Council said that their services to libraries, rubbish collection, leisure centres and the elderly and vulnerable were scheduled to operate as of 10 a.m this morning.

A spokesman for Hounslow Council said any further developments would be posted on their website today.

A statement from West Middlesex Hospital said that the unions and the Trust had been working on plans to prevent or minimise any impact on patient care resulting from the industrial action, whilst still recognising the democratic rights of their staff. They had met with unions and agreed that the planned industrial action would not affect critical services and were working to allow safe levels of cover across hospitals.

"In recognition of national and London guidance, the Trust and Trade union representatives have jointly identified and agreed services that need to be staffed to ensure safe delivery of emergency services. These include in-patient ward areas, ITU (intensive treatment unit) and HDU (high dependency unit), Accident & Emergency, maternity labour ward, theatres (for emergency and urgent/life threatening operations including elective surgery i.e. cancer), cancer clinics (urgent and new patients), radiology (emergency work) and physiotherapy (emergency work).

“Our aim is to maintain services wherever possible and we have written to patients who have a procedure planned for the 30th to let them know that it may be cancelled. If that happens we will ensure that it’s rearranged as soon as possible at a time convenient to them.

“Inevitably there may be some disruption to our services and we ask patients to bear with us while we concentrate on caring for the least well and those with life threatening injuries or illness first. We would also ask that people consider the need to use our A&E department during the strike period unless it is a real emergency."

Patients should direct their enquires about planned outpatient appointments to 020 8321 5601. NHS direct can be contacted on 0845 4647 / for advice on the treatment of common conditions like colds and flu.

November 30, 2011