Please note: since the publication of this news item, the anticipated action was cancelled and our blood testing clinics are open as normal
Our drop-in blood testing clinics at Queen’s and King George hospitals will be closed from Monday 4 until Sunday 10 November.
We have taken the difficult decision to close these outpatient services so we can focus on running a safe service for our inpatients and those brought into our emergency departments during strike action by some of our biomedical scientists.
Clinics in the community where your blood can be taken are open as usual – you can find out where these are located on our website. Your support in postponing non-urgent blood tests until after the strike would be greatly appreciated and would help us to ensure we can provide a safe service for patients who absolutely do need blood to be taken and analysed during this period.
However, if you do think you need an urgent blood test, please speak to your GP who will be able to advise you.
Our blood testing departments will reopen at 9am on Monday 11 November.
Please be aware our oncology and ante-natal and paediatric blood testing services at Queen’s Hospital will be open as usual, as well as our ante-natal and paediatric service at King George Hospital.
The industrial action is due to a dispute between our Trust and the union Unite over our plans to introduce a 24/7 shift system in our Pathology department, which would help us to provide safer care to our patients, as well as bring us into line with other trusts who already operate this system.
Currently we run a voluntary overtime system to cover out of hours; however, this represents a risk to our patients as it is dependent on the availability of staff. A rota system, on which we consulted with our staff in 2017, would help us to ensure a robust, safe and high quality service.
Chris Bown, our interim Chief Executive, said: “Our number one priority is providing our patients with a safe, high quality service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The changes we’re introducing will ensure we have the right staffing cover and reduce the risk of not being able to get the right staff, particularly out of hours.
“We know that most of our staff acknowledge this is the best way to care for our patients, therefore we are disappointed that the union has implemented strike action, despite our continued efforts to engage with them.”