With the second consultants’ two-day strike due to start early on Thursday 24 August, NHS services in the east of England are expecting yet more disruption.
The warning around this latest industrial action was raised today by the region’s Chief Operating Officer, who highlighted the situation would be worsened by the high numbers of staff on summer leave, as well as warm weather expected over the long bank holiday weekend.
Adam Cayley, Chief Operating Officer for the NHS in the east of England said: “During these two days almost all planned routine care will come to a standstill with many appointments postponed, as no other NHS clinicians can cover for consultants.
“However, any patient who needs urgent medical care should still visit their A&E department as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases, where they will be treated safely.
“If you haven’t already been told that your appointment has been rescheduled, please attend as normal. For non-emergency healthcare, we are asking the public to use the NHS 111 online (www.111.nhs.uk), the NHS 111 phone service, or speak to a local pharmacy.”
This represents the second walkout by consultants this year and follows the latest five day strike by junior doctors which started on Friday 11 August and led to 4,607 appointments postponed across the region.
During the consultants strike the public can still access GP services and pharmacies in the normal way. Patients and carers should also make sure they have enough supply of any prescribed medicines to last over the long weekend. If their medication could run out over the bank holiday, then they should consider placing an order now. If the hot weather continues this NHS advice can be followed to cope with the heat.
The NHS in the east of England urges people to still dial 999 in life-threatening emergencies and NHS 111 online for other health concerns.
It should be stressed that if patients haven’t been contacted or informed that their planned appointment has been postponed, they should attend as normal.