Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

NHS braces for disruption to patients caused by rail strike

The NHS is bracing for travel disruption during rail and Tube strike action (PA)
The NHS is bracing for travel disruption during rail and Tube strike action (PA)

The NHS “remains open”, leading medics have said as the health service prepares for disruption caused by rail strikes.

Patients have been urged to plan ahead for appointments.

And hospitals have made arrangements to ensure staff will be on site, including setting up park-and-ride services and taxi-sharing facilities.

The strikes could have a particular impact on hospitals in London, many of which have limited parking capacity for those considering driving to appointments as an alternative.

While buses are still operating it is expected these will be busier than usual due to the strikes.

NHS patients have been urged to plan ahead of the rail strikes (PA)
NHS patients have been urged to plan their travel ahead of the rail strikes (PA)

Rail worker strikes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are set to cause travel disruption across the country.

Meanwhile strike action will also disrupt the London Underground on Tuesday.

Many trusts have urged patients to get in touch if they cannot attend their appointment due to strikes.

The Royal Free said in a statement: “Our hospitals will be open as normal but please do let us know in advance if you are unable to attend your appointment.”

King’s College Hospital said: “We recognise that some patients and visitors are likely to experience difficulty accessing our hospital sites on the strike days, but also on the days in-between.

“We would like to reassure patients and visitors that hospital services will continue as normal during this period.”

Meanwhile patients were warned of potential delays if they were late for appointments due to travel disruption.

Barts Health, one of the biggest trusts in London, said in a statement: “Our staff will be flexible with appointment timings, allowing for the fact that patients may be delayed on route.

“Please note that you may then experience a wait if you do arrive later than your specified appointment time. If you are delayed on your way to your appointment, please contact the team to let them know.”

Hospitals also warned of “busier than usual” car parks, particularly trusts based in outer London.

As well as affecting patient appointments, the strikes may also hamper NHS staff commutes.

Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in London reminded patients that staff “will have the same difficulties in travelling in to offer appointments as you will”.

Some trusts have put extra measures in place to ensure staff cover during the travel disruption.

“Staff will be coming in, as usual, to ensure those who need us get the care they need. The trust has put a number of measures in place to ensure these staff are unaffected,” Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said in a statement.

The Trust told PA it had set up a temporary park-and-ride service for staff working at Epsom hospital and it has also expanded its shuttle bus service.

Staff are also being encouraged to cycle, walk or car share while those who can work from home are being asked to do so.

Central and North West London NHS Trust, which provides a range of services including mental health care and sexual health services, added: “Our wards will be fully staffed (we have plans to make sure staff can get to work).”

On Friday, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: “With rail strikes expected across the country next week, I am urging those who have appointments booked in to plan ahead and look at alternative options for getting to their GP practice or hospital if needed.

“The NHS sees millions of people every week for urgent and routine care and it is vital that people access the care they need despite disruptions – the NHS remains open, so please do continue to come forward.”