The NHS faces continuous industrial action stretching over five dates next week, and for the first time both consultants and junior doctors are striking on the same day on 20 September, so it’s important that services are used wisely.
In contrast to strike action among other staff groups, no other clinicians can provide cover for consultants, so any planned care delivered by junior doctors or other healthcare professionals that requires even remote consultant supervision will need to be rescheduled.
This means a significant amount of planned care involving junior doctors will also be affected, and many services will have avoided scheduling planned appointments altogether.
To ensure care continues to be available for those in life-threatening situations, NHS staff will again prioritise emergency and urgent care – with many routine appointments and procedures for patients being postponed each day.
People who need NHS care should use services as they usually would – 999 or A&E in a life-threatening emergency and NHS 111 online for other health concerns.
Patients with appointments who haven’t been contacted otherwise should attend as normal and community services such as GPs and pharmacies are also largely unaffected by the strike.
Clair Raybould, Director of System Delivery, NHS Lincolnshire ICB, said:
“We are once again entering an exceptionally busy and disruptive period for the NHS, starting with the consultants strike and coupled with Junior Doctors starting their industrial action for the remainder of the week.
“However, our staff continue to work extremely hard to provide patients with the care they need, although this latest strike will likely impact a significant amount of hospital appointments around the country, including in Lincolnshire.
“As with previous strikes we want to be very clear that anyone with a life-threatening medical issue should still call 999 – in all cases priority will be given to those with the most medically urgent needs.
“However, at the same time, we also need to remind people who need help with a non-life threatening medical issue to make use of the alternative sources of help and advice available, such as NHS 111 online.
“In addition, you can call 111 and, of course, GP practices and local pharmacies are open and able to offer advice and help. In Lincolnshire we also have the Waitless App, which can be downloaded and enables you to view live waiting time, queue numbers and travel time information for our urgent care facilities in the county.”