Great Ormond Street Hospital declares 'incident' over staffing levels ahead of nurses' strike

Sign for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Great Ormond Street Hospital said it had "no choice" but to declare an incident.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has declared an incident over staffing levels ahead of this weekend's nurses' strike.

The London children's hospital said it had "no choice" but to declare a business continuity incident, adding it "must protect" its patients.

"This is not a step we've taken lightly but safe care for patients is our priority," it added.

A business continuity incident is described by the NHS as "an event or occurrence that; disrupts, (or might disrupt) an organisation's normal service delivery below acceptable predefined levels".

The strike by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union will take place from 8pm on Sunday, April 30 to midnight on Monday, May 1.

In a statement, GOSH said: "We have been working hard to make sure that we have enough nursing staff to continue to care for all patients at the hospital. Having carefully reviewed our staffing levels over the strike period, currently, we are unable to staff the hospital to our usual nursing ratios.

"We have had to make some difficult decisions about the care we can provide over the coming days. We have been exploring lots of different options for delivering care, including increasing the number of doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and other care staff on site.

"Please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to ensure your child will still receive safe care, but this may look a little different to usual. This is a fast-moving situation, and we are closely monitoring how we can best support our patients and families."

GOSH said it was working to see which patients could safely be discharged, prioritising those who must remain in the hospital.

"Your clinical team will talk you through any changes to the plan of care for you/your child," it added.

"We know that most of our parents/carers remain with their child throughout their time at GOSH and support with basic care needs.

"This is especially important during the strike period and we want to thank you in advance for your continued support."

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