A&E strike waiting times '˜unavailable'
Bosses at Blackpool Victoria Hospital yesterday refused to say how this week's junior doctors strike affected waiting times in A&E.
After asking for the figures The Gazette, which was denied access to the hospital during Tuesday and Wednesday’s walk-out, was told by a spokesman: “Due to advice from NHS England, we are unable to provide these figures.”
The strike was the first by junior doctors to include emergency care in NHS history, and saw senior doctors called away from their desks and back into departments such as casualty, maternity, and the urgent care unit.
Earlier this month, we revealed how A&E patients were being treated in the corridor, with screens erected so nurses assigned to the hallway can care for them, after rocketing attendance figures were recorded.
It came as the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) warned the number of urgent, life-threatening calls is currently 40 per cent higher than this time last year and showed ‘no signs of slowing down’.
Sharon Ellis worked in A&E for more than 20 years before becoming a practice development sister.
Because of the walk-out, triggered by an ongoing row with the government over new contracts, she swapped her pen for a stethoscope.
In a statement released by the hospital, she said: “It’s a bit like riding a bike being back in the unit, you just get back into the saddle.
“I have enjoyed these two days immensely and it has been a great opportunity to develop staff skills as well.”
Former matron and patient experience manager Andrew Heath, who rejoined his colleagues on Ward 34, added: “This has been a good opportunity to come back to the wards and deliver personal care, and see the wonderful treatment patients receive here. I have seen examples of excellent practice on the wards.
“I have really enjoyed it. I worked on this ward when I first qualified and it’s still a very pleasant team to work with.”