Urgent and emergency services at Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘will be maintained as nurses strike’

Urgent and emergency services at Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘will be maintained as nurses strike’

Health chiefs say the safety of life and health services at Addenbrooke’s Hospital will be the focus during this month’s nurses’ strike.

Addenbrooke's Hospital Photo: Keith Heppell (61336058)
Addenbrooke’s Hospital Photo: Keith Heppell (61336058)

Members of the Royal College of Nursing union are set to leave office on Thursday (December 15) and next Tuesday (December 20) in a pay dispute.

The RCN union is demanding a wage increase of 5 percent above the RPI inflation rate, which stood at 14.2 percent in October.

It has been said that nurses could suspend planned strikes if the government agrees to negotiate pay.

The Government has previously announced average pay rises of 4.5 per cent for doctors and 4.75 per cent for other NHS workers – including nurses – for next year in England.

David Wherrett, the Human Resources Director at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There will be action, there will be picketing and there will be this focus on safety.”

He explained that more than 3,000 appointments were being canceled and other services were being “scaled back”. The Trust says patients will be contacted directly if their appointment needs to be rescheduled. If you don’t hear from the hospital, you should go to your appointment as scheduled.

A statement released today (Wednesday) said: “Our primary focus is providing safe care to patients in need of urgent and emergency assistance and to those receiving inpatient care at our hospitals. We know this will be a great disappointment for those waiting for treatment in our hospitals and we are very sorry.”

CUH will continue to provide the following services, some of which may be at a reduced level:

  • Emergency Care – Same Day Emergency Care, Emergency Room, Emergency Support Services, Emergency Surgery
  • intensive care
  • chemotherapy, radiotherapy and dialysis,
  • inpatient care
  • Urgent diagnostic procedures and other time-sensitive services
  • Activity that does not require nursing support

The organization has confirmed that it has agreed with the RCN to deviate from some services, preventing staff in these areas from taking industrial action when assigned to work.

Chief Operating Officer Nicola Ayton said: “We are focused on safety and keeping these critical services running on both days of the industrial action while supporting our employees.”

Speaking at a weekly staff briefing yesterday (Tuesday), Mr Wherrett said: “We have said very clearly, and it is important to reiterate that, that we have two ambitions. The first is to support or provide mechanisms and arrangements for these legitimate industrial action to take place.

“The second is to maintain safe patient services for emergency, emergency and cancer services, as well as a range of services identified by us and the RCN. Those are very real ambitions and I can’t stress how important it is that we keep an eye on those two things.”

A wave of strikes by nurses, paramedics, railway workers and Border Force personnel this month is expected to spark mass disruption.

Of the 10 NHS ambulance trusts in England, only one is unaffected by the strike – the East of England Ambulance Service, which serves Cambridgeshire.

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