NHS braced for unprecedented walkout as junior doctors and consultants take strike action

The NHS is preparing for a historic walkout which will affect almost all planned care as the first ever joint strike by consultants and junior doctors begins this week.

Consultants begin their strike action on Tuesday (19 Sept) and are joined by junior doctors on Wednesday (20 Sept).

On Wednesday from 7am, both junior doctors and consultants will deliver Christmas day levels of staffing only, meaning that while emergency care will be provided. Both groups will then strike on 2, 3 and 4 October, again providing Christmas day cover.

Now in the tenth month of industrial action across the NHS, which has seen more than 885,000 inpatient and outpatient appointments rescheduled, staff continue to work hard to provide patients with the best possible care.

Previous industrial action by consultants last month saw 45,800 appointments disrupted and around 6,000 staff off per day due to industrial action.

Ahead of the extensive action, the NHS is reminding the public that they should continue to use health services as they usually would – using 999 and A&E in life threatening situations and using 111 online for other health concerns. GPs and pharmacies can be used by the public for health advice and appointments as normal.

NHS national medical director professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “The NHS has simply never seen this kind of industrial action in its history. This week’s first ever joint action means almost all planned care will come to a stop, and hundreds of thousands of appointments will be postponed, which is incredibly difficult for patients and their families, and poses an enormous challenge for colleagues across the NHS.

“We’re very grateful to the public for using the NHS wisely during this period when we will be prioritising emergency care. In a life-threatening situation, use 999 and A&E as normal, but for everything else, use 111 online or use services in the community which are largely unaffected, like GPs and pharmacies. Patients who have an appointment and who haven’t been contacted should attend as normal.”