...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has expressed “serious concerns” regarding the safety of staffing during the upcoming bank holiday weekend nurses strike.
The Royal College of Nursing union is set to stage the walkout on Sunday and Monday, prompting the hospital to declare a “business continuity incident”.
The children’s hospital has said that it has “no choice” but to make this declaration, as the safety of patients is of paramount importance.
It has urgently called for safety exemptions for intensive care units and other critical areas of the hospital.
Nursing Cover and Exemptions during the Strike
Nurses have already held two strikes this year, on 18 and 19 January and 6 and 7 February.
During these previous strikes, exemptions were made, and critical nursing cover was maintained.
However, during the upcoming strike, nurses will not provide emergency care in A&E.
Hospital CEO’s Comments
Mat Shaw, GOSH’s Chief Executive Officer, has commented on the situation, stating that while they respect the right of staff to take part in lawful industrial action, they have exhausted all options and now have serious concerns about safely staffing the hospital during the upcoming strike.
Shaw has said that the safety of patients, particularly vulnerable children, is the hospital’s main priority, and as such, they have no choice but to declare a business continuity incident.
Concerns over Reduced Services in A&E
This follows warnings from St Thomas’ Hospital, which has already warned of a “significantly reduced” service in A&E.
RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen previously stated that the union was seeking a “significantly improved” offer “as soon as possible” to prevent strike action.
Analysis and Commentaries
The planned nurses strike has led to major concerns over staffing levels in critical areas of hospitals.
The declaration of a “business continuity incident” by GOSH highlights the severity of the situation, with the hospital needing to ensure that its intensive care units and other critical areas are safely staffed.
The hospital’s CEO has emphasised that the safety of patients is of utmost importance, and the declaration is a necessary step to ensure that vulnerable children are protected.
The strike has the potential to significantly impact services, with St Thomas’ Hospital already warning of reduced A&E services.
The RCN has called for improved offers to prevent the strike, which highlights the need for better working conditions for nursing staff.
It remains to be seen how the situation will develop, and whether any agreements can be reached to prevent the upcoming strike.
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