The health trust which runs Swanage Hospital has decided to close the minor injuries unit during the two days of industrial action by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th January 2023.
Dorset Healthcare will also be closing MIUs at Blandford, Shaftesbury and Sherborne, while maintaining normal services at Bridport and Wimborne MIUs, as well as the urgent treatment centre at Weymouth Hospital.
The entrance to Swanage Hospital and the MIU in Queen’s Road
Ensuring safe staffing levels
The health trust says this has been arranged in agreement with RCN representatives, to ensure people can access face-to-face treatment in Dorset if they need it, as well as ensuring patient safety and also safe staffing levels .
Dorset Healthcare is advising that anyone requiring urgent care for injury or illness should call NHS 111 or go online for an assessment in the first instance. If appropriate, an appointment will be arranged at an MIU or the urgent treatment centre. If it’s a life-threatening emergency, people should call 999.
Emergency care will continue to be available during the industrial action, so people should not hesitate to seek help if it is needed.
“Allow us to provide a consistent, reliable offer to anyone who needs urgent treatment”
Jane Elson, service director for integrated community services, said:
“While we will be unable to offer a full service over the strike days, consolidating our staff at three locations will allow us to provide a consistent, reliable offer to anyone who needs urgent treatment.”
The nearest MIU to Swanage on the strike days will be at Victoria Hospital in Wimborne, but it will be closer to go to Poole accident and emergency department
Strike action over pay
RCN members voted in November 2022 to go on strike over pay.
On Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th January 2023, nursing staff will strike at 55 NHS trusts in England that were not part of last December’s first wave of industrial action.
The union has asked for a pay settlement of 5 percent above the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rate of inflation, which in December 2022 was 14 percent. There is also discontent by nursing staff over their working conditions
The RCN argues that the value of salaries for experienced nurses today are 20 percent lower in real terms due to successive below-inflation pay awards since 2010.
It adds that low pay is pushing nursing staff out of the profession and contributing to record vacancies.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen on a picket line
“Rather than negotiate, Rishi Sunak has chosen strike action again”
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said:
“It is with a heavy heart that nursing staff are striking this week and again in three weeks. Rather than negotiate, Rishi Sunak has chosen strike action again.
“We are doing this in a desperate bid to get him and ministers to rescue the NHS. The only credible solution is to address the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs – patient care is suffering like never before.
“My olive branch to government – asking them to meet me halfway and begin negotiations – is still there. They should grab it.”
If progress is not made by the end of January, the RCN says its members in England and Wales will strike again for 12 hours on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th February 2023.