Great Ormond Street Hospital declares 'business continuity incident' over staffing ahead of nurses' strikes

Great Ormond Street Hospital has declared a "business continuity incident" ahead of planned nurses' strikes on Sunday and Monday.

It said it has "serious concerns over safely staffing the hospital" during the strikes by members of the Royal College of Nursing.

"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".

It also means "special arrangements are required to be implemented until services can return to an acceptable level".

The 28-hour strike will take place from 8pm on 30 April to midnight on 1 May.

The hospital said it was "unable to staff the hospital to [its] usual nursing ratios" after reviewing its staffing numbers over the strike period.

It added: "We have had to make some difficult decisions about the care we can provide over the coming days.

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"We have been exploring lots of different options for delivering care, including increasing the numbers 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."

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), which is the largest paediatric centre in the UK, said it was working to see which patients could safely be discharged, prioritising those who have to remain in the hospital.

It added: "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."