The NHS is bracing itself for severe disruption over the next few weeks as consultants and junior doctors plan more periods of industrial action.
Local health bosses are asking for the public to plan ahead, pick up prescriptions in advance and use the correct service to help relieve pressures on services.
- Consultants will strike for 48 hours on 7am Tuesday 19 to 7am Thursday 21 September
- Junior doctors will strike for 72 hours on 7am Wednesday 20 September until 7am Saturday 23 September
- Consultants and junior doctors will strike together for 72 hours from 7am Monday 2 October until 7am Thursday 5 October
During the periods of industrial action, planned appointments are likely to be postponed, delays will be expected and the local hospitals will, in effect, be operating ‘Christmas Day’ levels of staffing.
Dr David Selwyn, Medical Director at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “Demand for NHS services remains high and emergency departments are busy with long waits to be seen, even without the impact of this week’s industrial action.
“Your NHS is still here for you but we’re asking people to consider whether A&E is the most appropriate place for their needs. If it’s not a life-threatening emergency, an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) can help with the most common problems people go to A&E for. If you think you need medical help right now but you're not sure what to do, NHS 111 can help.
“High demand means that patients sometimes have to wait longer for treatment than any of us would like. Thank you for your understanding as our hard-working NHS colleagues do their best to assess patients as quickly as possible, to ensure that we see the most seriously unwell people first.
“While we recognise this industrial action is between HM Government and the BMA trade union, we continue to push for a resolution to be reached as soon as possible, for the sake of patients and colleagues.”
John Walsh, Deputy Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), added: “During the upcoming industrial action, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases. However, if it is non-life threatening, please think about which is the most appropriate service for your needs.
“If you need medical help or advice, you should contact NHS 111 in the first instance, and they will direct you to the most appropriate service, which could include your local pharmacy, GP or urgent treatment centre.
“We do expect there to be an impact on some appointments and clinics but ask patients to continue to attend planned appointments unless you hear directly from us to make new arrangements.
“We’d like to thank the public for their support, and staff across NUH who are working tirelessly to ensure patients get the right treatment, as quickly as possible.”
The advice for the public who need care has not changed – people should use 999 in life-threatening emergencies and NHS 111 online for other health concerns. GP services and pharmacies are also available for patients and can be accessed in the normal way.
If you haven’t been contacted or informed that your planned appointment has been postponed, please attend as normal.