Hospitals bosses issue advice as junior doctors strike begins

Health / Sat 24th Feb 2024 at 09:50am

THE doctors’ union the British Medical Association has announced that junior doctors across the country will go on for a further five days, after national pay negotiations failed to reach agreement. 

Local NHS leaders across Hertfordshire and west Essex are appealing for the public’s support as they prepare for another period of strike action, which will cause significant disruption to local services.

The strike will run from 7am on Saturday 24 February to 11.59pm on Wednesday 28 February. There will also be some disruption before and after the strike as NHS services make adjustments to prepare for the strike period. 

Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “This strike action will present many challenges for patients, carers, our hospitals, and some of our GP practices too. With many doctors expected to be on strike, 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. To prioritise life-saving emergency treatment, hospitals will postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Anyone whose treatment is going to be cancelled 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. 

“During the last strikes, some people came to A&E with symptoms that should have been seen and treated elsewhere. If you come to A&E with a minor condition or illness during the strike, you are likely to face a very long wait and may be sent away to an alternative service A&E is always there for people with serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies, like heart attacks, strokes, or breathing difficulties, so in a genuine medical emergency call 999. There are many sources of advice about when to call 999, including on the NHS website. If you call 999 for an ambulance when you don’t need one, you could endanger the life of another person.

“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.  Don’t forget the mental health support on offer via NHS 111 – by choosing option 2 when you get through.   

“Thank you for your understanding and support at this challenging time.” 

Top tips for Hertfordshire and west Essex residents 

  • Make sure you have supplies of the essential prescription medicine you will need over the strike period.  Use the online form on your GP’s website or the NHS app to order your repeat prescriptions, if you can.  Make sure you get requests in in plenty of time, allowing up to five working days before you need more medicine. You may even be able pick for a repeat at your regular pharmacy, meaning you just need to make a note in your diary for when to pick up your next lot of medication. No extra work needed!  
  • If you have a pre-booked appointment at hospital or a clinic, attend as scheduled, unless you have been contacted and your appointment has been postponed. 
  • GP services will be open on Monday 26 February as normal so please contact your practice as usual on their online form on their website.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You can find a list of pharmacies or Urgent Care Centres that are open out of hours by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the NHS service finder on the front page of the website.
  • Do not visit anyone in a hospital or care home if you have recently had diarrhoea or vomiting. Stomach bugs are easily spread, make already ill people very seriously unwell, and can lead to whole hospital wards being closed. Please wait 48 hours after your last bout of sickness or diarrhoea before visiting anyone who is vulnerable.   
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10 Comments for Hospitals bosses issue advice as junior doctors strike begins:

Bruce Downey
2024-02-24 10:50:19

This will be going on till the election.. hoping for a Labour win to cave in to their demands..🤑

gary roberts
2024-02-24 10:51:56

The "junior" doctors still have the support of the public as a recent poll outlined. And despite the procedure I am still waiting for, I support them totally. Indeed I would, unlike Mr. Starmer, stand on their picket line to show my support. If they lose then the NHS will be mortally wounded. This government is not only fraudulent but playing with people's lives in the most disgusting way. Will you still vote for them in May? I hope not.

2024-02-24 11:00:00

The Jr Drs are greedy and political, the deal was accepted in Scotland. Lets not forget not long ago they begged us to stay home protect the NHS which most people did. It came at great cost to people, their finances, health, business and education. To funds this the government printed 400B which led to inflation, which now the NHS are complaining about. Frankly it is time they shut up and delivered to the people of this nation, as we now have a 7 million long waiting list and massive excess deaths (I wonder why).

gary roberts
2024-02-24 12:11:17

Adam, who caused this strike? Who begged people to stay at home? Who caused the seven million case backlog? The answer is not the junior doctors is it, unless you can find any information and data to support your assertions. And of course this strike is not all about salary increases; it also relates to working conditions.

2024-02-24 15:02:05

Gary here you go, the NHS caused the backlog it is inefficient, wasteful. https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/19/doctors-nurses-fighting-coronavirus-beg-people-stay-home-12424636/ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/21/nhs-junior-doctor-stay-at-home-coronavirus https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11233224/coronavirus-medics-beg-people-stay-at-home-save-lives-moving-video/ Re strikes themselves - PAY is the main reason https://www.bma.org.uk/our-campaigns/junior-doctor-campaigns/pay/why-junior-doctors-are-striking-a-guide-for-patients

gary roberts
2024-02-25 05:46:43

Adam, the point is the doctors and nurses didn't make the NHS inefficient or wasteful or told people to stay at home. Those decisions were made by incompetent politicians and managers. As a result doctors and nurses died and continue to die due now to working conditions and the level of pay. That is why patients' cannot get an appointment to see their GP or, like me, cannot have a medical procedure done. I support their attempts to change that position and will continue to do so.

2024-02-25 10:40:33

Gary the articles above show clearly the Drs and nurses saying stay home, they are also part of the NS so the reason it is inefficient. We could give the NHS every penny in the UK and it would still be crap, its crap because of the attitudes and working practice of the people within it, it is that simple.

gary roberts
2024-02-25 11:31:12

Adam, I fundamentally disagree with your argument about the role of doctors and nurses in the NHS. They are told what to do by the politicians and managers who rarely understand how the greatest public service works or operates. It needs to go back to its founding values and principles. I would remove all private treatment from the NHS, bring GP's and dentists into the system as well as the social care system. An holistic service with all patients' services brought back into the system. But sadly the politicians are so scared of doing so I suspect the NHS concept will die within the next ten years. I hopefully will be somewhere else when that happens.

Guy Flegman
2024-02-25 18:17:05

What do we want? Everything. When do we want it? Now. Who is going to pay for it? Don’t care as long as it is not me.

2024-02-26 21:03:32

The politicians told us to stay home because at the time we did not understand what the covid virus was all about , after thousands of people were dying in other countries. You can only blame one thing for the virus and nhs waiting lists rising to 7000000 , and that is another country , far far away

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