Statement from the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
On Tuesday 1st December Junior Doctors in England will be taking industrial (strike) action over 24-hours (starting 8am Tuesday) to reinforce their objections to the government’s proposed new contract.
We do not have any junior doctors at EMAS, however the proposed strike dates in December (1, 8 and 16 December) have the potential to have an adverse impact on our ability to respond quickly to 999 calls. As reported at our November Trust Board meeting (24 November) we continue to experience hospital handover delays at busy Emergency Departments across the region and the strike could make matters worse.
If patients who are well enough to leave hospital are not discharged by a doctor, Emergency Departments will not be able to transfer patients onto wards. This will mean backlogs building up in the Emergency Department as they will have no spaces available to accept patients brought to hospital by ambulance.
If that happens, our ambulance crews will need to remain with the patient to ensure they remain safe and cared for. This means we could have a number of ambulances held up at the hospital and therefore not be able to get back out on the road to respond to other patients who require a response to their 999 call.
Patient safety is our priority during any NHS industrial action, and we are working closely with our colleagues in the hospitals and other health services to seek to minimise disruption to our emergency, urgent and patient transport services as possible.
NHS Employers Chief Executive Danny Mortimer continues to keep NHS organisations in the loop with regard to ongoing discussions with the British Medical Association, through the ACAS conciliation services. In his latest letter, Mr Mortimer remained hopeful that through their joint endeavours the dispute could end, and that the contracts could be modernised for doctors whilst also addressing their concerns.