Hospital consultants will be taking a second round of strike action for 48 hours from 07:00 on Thursday 24 August until 07:00 on Saturday 26 August ahead of the bank holiday weekend.
NHS Trusts across Cheshire and Merseyside are set to be severely impacted by these strikes, and the public are being advised that significant service disruption is highly likely.
Emergency services will remain in place on Thursday and Friday, with staffing levels in line with that in place on ‘Christmas Day’. This will ensure that emergency care continues to be provided and that patients remain safe while consultants take lawful industrial action, but disruption should be expected and elective or non-emergency care will be significantly impacted.
Health leaders are therefore urging members of the public to use NHS 111 Online for all non-emergency healthcare needs.
The online service works the same as over the phone and is already popular with people who want quick advice about the best options for getting the care they need. These can include a call back from a trained clinician or nurse, an appointment in A&E or important advice.
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Medical Director, Prof Rowan Pritchard-Jones said:
“We are now in the ninth month of industrial action across the NHS, and staff continue to work tirelessly to provide patients with the best possible care under the circumstances.
“The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to mitigate risks to patient safety and manage the disruption caused by industrial action, but this week’s strikes by hospital consultants in the run up to the bank holiday weekend will inevitably lead to significant disruption for many patients.
“Consultants are senior doctors who not only see patients but are also responsible for supervising junior doctors and other staff. When consultants take strike action this week, they will stop delivering care directly or providing supervision of the work of our junior staff. Without supervision, it may not be possible for some care delivered by junior doctors, or other staff to take place safely.
“However, we want to reiterate that urgent and emergency care services will be open, and in the event of a life or limb-threatening emergency you should always call 999.
“If it’s not an emergency, please use NHS 111 Online to ensure you are signposted to the right service first time.”
Your hospital care provider will contact you directly if your appointment is affected – so please attend as planned if you have not heard from them in advance.
Local NHS services will be using their websites and social media channels to provide up to date information to the public about local service disruption – so patients are urged to check for updates before they travel.
NHS 111 Online can tell you:
- Where to get help for your symptoms
- How to find general health information and advice
- Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
- How to get a repeat prescription
- How to get an emergency dental appointment.
Ahead of the bank holiday we are also reminding people to plan ahead and order any repeat prescriptions for medication early, and that over the weekend some local pharmacies may have different opening hours.
For the most up-to-date information, find your nearest pharmacy and their opening hours on: www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy