Great Ormond Street declares incident as it fears nurses' strike will seriously damage children's safety at hospital

28 April 2023, 15:51

GOSH fears for the impact of the nurses' strikes
GOSH fears for the impact of the nurses' strikes. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Great Ormond Street has declared an incident over "serious concerns" about how it will safely staff the children's hospital with nurses going on strike.

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Chief executive Mat Shaw said children "have no voice in the debate" over pay and needed to be protected as he issued the alert.

The Royal College of Nursing is striking from the evening of Sunday April 30 to the end of May 1, with GOSH saying the sheer volume of nurses going on strike has led it to fears for patients' safety.

GOSH worried it will also be hit by the National Education Union's industrial action between April 27 and May 2 2023.

Read more: Travel chaos looms as train strikes set to hit Eurovision, the FA Cup final and Epsom Derby

GOSH has declared an emergency
GOSH has declared an emergency. Picture: Alamy

Mr Shaw said on Friday: "We respect the right of our staff to take part in lawful industrial action, but after exhausting all options, at the moment we have serious concerns over how we will safely staff our hospital during the strike.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of our patients and so we have no choice but to declare a business continuity incident.

Read more: Nurses' strike in England to be cut short by one day, judge rules

GOSH is fearful for the impact of nursing strikes
GOSH is fearful for the impact of nursing strikes. Picture: Alamy

"These children have no voice in the debate and we must protect them. We urgently need safety exemptions for our intensive care units and other areas of the hospital."

The hospital has seen 4,300 fewer patients than normal during the junior doctors' and nurses' strikes - a 33% drop.

GOSH, Britain's largest paediatric centre, has tried to find alternative ways to accommodate the strikes safely, having discharged patients who can safely return home and explored if they could be sent to other hospitals.

It said it was unable to ask for help from nearby hospitals not hit by strikes because of how specialised its care is, and military aid was unavailable.

The hospital said: "We know that most of our parents or 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."