Junior doctors are planning industrial action as part of a national dispute with the Government over a new contract. This will take place between the hours of 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 April and Wednesday 27 April. During this time, junior doctors will refuse to offer routine care and emergency cover.
The NHS has robust plans in place to deal with the disruption. Other doctors and NHS staff will continue to provide care during this time. However there is no doubt that services will be affected as a result of industrial action, which places considerable pressure on the NHS at a point when it is already facing significant demand.
There are important steps that patients can take to prepare for the industrial action and to use services wisely.
Preparing for the industrial action
In the days leading up to the strike, make sure that medicine cabinets are well stocked with essentials such as ibuprofen, antacids, and bandages. Check that any regular prescriptions you need have been filled, and that you have made any appointments that you need with GPs or practice nurses. If you have an appointment for an operation or procedure during the strike period, your service provider will contact you to rearrange it.
Services that will be open
In the event that people do need medical help or advice on the strike days, they are strongly encouraged to use NHS choices www.nhs.uk or NHS 111 in the first instance, if possible. They can also seek advice from their local pharmacist or GP as these services will be open during the industrial action.
People that require care for serious or life-threatening emergencies should call 999 as usual or, if possible, make their own way to A&E. Anyone needing urgent or emergency care will continue to receive it – as they would at Christmas and other bank holidays.
The NHS is open for business but the public are advised to use it wisely during this very challenging time. Some services may change or be busier than usual, so contact services early if you need to book appointments during this period.