NHS staff across region prepare for further strike action

Health / Tue 8th Aug 2023 at 07:17am

NHS staff across Hertfordshire and west Essex are appealing for the public’s support as they prepare for junior doctors taking their latest round of industrial action during this summer holiday period. 

There will be 96 hours of continuous junior doctors’ strike action from 7am on Friday 11 August until 7am on Tuesday 15 August.

Significant disruption is expected during this time and local services are focused on protecting services for life threatening emergencies.  

The public are reminded that they should only attend accident and emergency departments at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Lister Hospital in Stevenage and Watford General Hospital if they need treatment for a very serious illness or injury. 

This is the ninth month of industrial action across the NHS and staff continue to work hard to provide patients with the best possible care under the circumstances. Industrial action has impacted approximately 778,000 hospital appointments across the NHS. Previous action by junior doctors saw between 7,000 to 20,000 staff off per day due to industrial action. 

Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “This further strike action over a weekend will present many challenges to patients, our hospitals, and some of our GP practices too.  With large numbers of doctors expected to be absent, hospitals will not be able to run as normal and services will be working under immense pressure. 

“Even with the careful planning that is taking place, both routine and emergency care are likely to be significantly affected. In order to prioritise life-saving emergency treatment for people who need it, hospitals will postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Where this is the case, patients will be contacted directly. This is really unfortunate for those whose treatment is delayed, but with the majority of doctors not working, remaining staff must cover the essential care patients need. 

“A&E is always for serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies only, so in a genuine medical emergency always call 999. There are many sources of advice about when to call 999, including on the NHS website. If you come to A&E with a minor condition or illness during the strike, you are likely to face a very long wait. If you call 999 for an ambulance when you don’t need one, you could endanger the life of another person in desperate need of emergency care. NHS 111 is there 24 hours a day if you or a family member are unwell and need urgent medical help or advice on where to go. We have more staff in the NHS 111 service to cover this challenging week, so please use 111 online or by phone if you cannot manage symptoms yourself at home.  

“I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and support at this challenging time.” 

Top tips for Hertfordshire and west Essex residents

  • If you need urgent health help, use NHS 111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) or call 111. Your symptoms will be assessed, and you will be provided with healthcare advice or an appointment to see a doctor or nurse if this is needed. NHS 111 can also send an ambulance and can book an appointment for you in some services like urgent treatment centres.
  • If you are in a mental health crisis, call NHS 111 and get straight through to mental health help by selecting option 2. 
  • GP surgeries are less directly affected by junior doctor industrial action.  However, we expect them to be busier than usual as a result – so only call if it is really essential and consider filling out an online consultation on your practice website if you can wait.
  • Feeling a bit under the weather? The NHS website has lots of advice to help you to look after yourself when you have minor symptoms. There is also information about what is a serious medical emergency: When to call 999 – NHS (www.nhs.uk) 
  • Pick up a few medicines while you’re shopping so that you can look after very minor illnesses or injuries yourself.  You can buy basic essentials like paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, antiseptic cream, allergy medicine and indigestion remedies from pharmacies and supermarkets for less than the cost of a prescription. Remember, cheaper non-branded versions of medicines work just as well as branded products.
  • Pharmacies are experts in medicines and treatment for minor conditions. You can find a list of pharmacies open out of hours by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the ‘Find a Pharmacy’ tool.
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5 Comments for NHS staff across region prepare for further strike action:

David Forman
2023-08-08 09:13:27

I wish NHS staff my best wishes of solidarity for their strike and hope they achieve a successful outcome.

Bruce Downey
2023-08-09 04:23:30

Teachers have accepted: “Final offer” of a 6% pay increase for doctors and an extra £1250 consolidated payment for junior doctors.. pushing their luck..🤔

Kim Oconnor
2023-08-09 07:53:36

I wish you good luck...

2023-08-09 20:05:54

If the NHS didn't waste money on Rainbow Walls, Diversity and Climate Managers and huge PFI payments it could afford to pay frontline staff a decent wage.

2023-08-12 08:18:56

Totally political, they accepted the deal in Scotland. The public sector has a significant left bias and want to stick it to the Tories. The sainted NHS are now making people suffer for their ideological demands. Far to much waste in the NHS and public sector, productivity is still below 2019 levels.

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