Strike: Eastbourne DGH bosses reassure patients

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HOSPITAL staff will be joining in with today’s strike over pensions and pay with the NHS.

But bosses at the DGH are confident any impact on patients will be minimal.

The exact number of stay-away staff is not yet known, because union members are not obliged to tell employers whether they intend to strike or not.

But nevertheless, Andy Horne, a deputy chief executive at East Sussex Healthcare Trust which runs the DGH, said, “We have plans in place to ensure the majority of our services continue to operate.

“We have been working well with staff and union representatives to ensure minimum disruption for our patients. Public and patients should assume that services are running as normal unless we contact them directly.

“Both staff and managers are committed to ensuring that patient safety is not jeopardised.”

Mr Horne however did admit that certain departments would have to be prioritised over others if push came to shove.

“Our overriding priority is to ensure we maintain safe levels of care for our emergency patients and those who are inpatients on our wards,” he said.

“While our staff will be working hard to avoid any inconvenience to all of our patients and visitors, there may be some disruption and we would appeal for patience in cases of delay.”

And it was a sentiment echoed by Jane Hentley, director of nursing at the trust, who said she was confident any non-striking staff would help plug the gaps left by those opting for the pickets.

She said, “Our staff and volunteers have frequently shown their overriding commitment to patient care and safety when rising to challenges such as severe weather conditions we experienced over the last few winters.

“These occasions can significantly reduce staff numbers at short notice and we will be using our contingency plans and experience to maintain our services.”

One area which will be affected is the non-urgent patient transport services.

Any patients who believe they may have difficulty attending hospital appointments today should call the staff to arrange a new date.