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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

SWAST industrial action

Our local ambulance service SWAST is taking part in industrial action on 11 and 23 January 2023.

There will be a limited service and crews will only be attending to the sickest patients as there will be fewer ambulances in operation.

You should continue to call 999 if you require life-saving care with ambulance services prioritising the most clinically urgent cases.

If it is not life-threatening you may have to wait longer than usual for an ambulance and, where safe and appropriate, you may be asked to make your own way to our hospitals – although it is important that you get medical advice from 111 or 999 before doing so.

For anyone with stroke or heart attack symptoms, please go to Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

For anyone needing maternity services, please go to Poole Hospital. Women should contact the labour line on 0300 3690388 as early as possible to plan how they can get there if necessary using alternative transport. Emergency admissions will still be supported by ambulance services.

For children over this busy festive period, alternatives to our emergency departments are available such as 111 online and pharmacies. Please consider this to help plan for their care. If you think your child will require hospital admission, please take them to our emergency department at Poole Hospital, as the children's unit is based at the Poole site. In an emergency or with a life-threatening condition, the advice remains to call 999 first.

If your child is taking regular medications, please make sure you have enough supplies over the Christmas period.

Anyone attending ED with less urgent conditions will face a long wait and likely be directed to other local health services once assessed. Urgent treatment centres, minor injuries units, GPs and pharmacists will all be available. The NHS is already facing record demand on urgent and emergency care services – October and November were the business on record for emergency department attendance and the most serious ambulance callouts.

The NHS is therefore also asking the public to play their part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours. People can help by taking sensible measures to keep themselves and others safe.

We also need to ensure we can move patients from our emergency departments as soon as possible in order to free up space for new patients arriving. Our hospitals already have a lot of inpatients, so we are trying to help get patients who are medically ready safely home now. Please do let our teams know if you can help a relative who is ready to leave, but will need ongoing support in the community.

Thank you for your understanding and patience at this time and please be assured that we will continue to prioritise our sickest patients, so if you need emergency care, please do attend our hospitals.

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