Hospitals in Lancashire and South Cumbria are gearing up to cope with the latest round of industrial action as both junior doctors and consultants get ready to strike.
Unions have announced 120 hours of continuous junior doctors’ strike action from 7am on Thursday 13 July until 7am on Tuesday 18 July.
It has also been announced that consultant doctors will be taking strike action for 48 hours from 7am on Thursday 20 July until 7am on Saturday 22 July. During the two days of action, consultants will provide ‘Christmas Day cover’, meaning they will continue to provide all emergency services, but routine services will be impacted.
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Craig Harris, chief of strategy, commissioning and integration at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which organises health services for the region, said: “We are now entering the eighth month of the most disruptive and significant period of industrial action the NHS has ever seen.
“The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to mitigate risks to patient safety and manage the disruption caused by industrial action, but these unprecedented strikes will lead to significant service disruption meaning services may feel different for patients. This could include longer waits and deferred treatment.
“We ask people to use services wisely and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to those who need it most. This includes using NHS 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.”
The most recent industrial action by junior doctors in June saw 12,800 hospital appointments across the North West disrupted over three days. The next strike is over five days so is likely to see more appointments disrupted and will be closely followed by consultant strikes.
Almost half of all hospital doctors in the country are junior doctors and hospital consultants are the NHS’s most senior clinicians, whose roles cannot be covered by other staff.
Local NHS services will be using their websites and social media channels to provide up-to-date information to the public about local service disruption – so please check before you travel.
NHS 111 Online can tell you:
Where to get help for your symptoms.
How to find general health information and advice.
Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine.
How to get a repeat prescription.
How to get an emergency dental appointment.
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