Clinicians urge families and friends of medically fit patients to lend a helping hand

Health leaders across Suffolk and north east Essex are calling on friends, families and carers of relatives who are fit to be discharged from hospital to help them out of hospital and back home before this weekend’s strike action.

Members of the Royal College of Nurses are set to strike on 30 April and 1 May as part of their ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Clinical leads say any help that relatives and friends could give in getting patients out of hospital will make a huge difference.

They add in many cases, patients in our hospitals are ready and well enough to be discharged. For those who can go home, friends, family and carers could step in by providing appropriate, temporary support. If this is the case, they would be encouraged to make contact with the clinician in charge of their loved-one’s care.

Hospital teams and social workers will liaise with anyone able to provide this support, to ensure that they too are supported and to deliver a long-term solution for the patient’s welfare and recovery.

Dr Andrew Kelso, Medical Director at NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, said: “I fully recognise every colleague’s right to strike and understand their reasons for doing so. However, the current round of industrial action is creating an unprecedented clinical risk for patients, and places increased pressure on those staff who are working to cover shifts.

“I urge anyone who could offer support to a loved one who is well enough to go home to come forward – they’ll not only be helping that patient on the road to recovery, they’ll also be giving a big boost to the staff at our local hospitals, meaning they can focus all their efforts on the very sickest patients who need their care.

“No one wants to be in hospital any longer than they need to be, and if they can spend precious time with their families instead of being in one of our hospitals over the bank holiday, then we want to get them there.

“It will also help us with admitting people who may need to come to our A&E departments for urgent care and treatment.

“If you can help to get someone you love home safely so they can continue their recovery there, we will support you every step of the way with making that happen.”