The British Medical Association (BMA), alongside the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) and British Dental Association (BDA), have announced another set of strike action for junior doctors and dental core trainees to run continuously for 96 hours from 7am, Tuesday 11 April to 7am, Saturday 15 April.
Planned or elective care will be significantly reduced during that 4-day period so that consultants and other senior health staff are redeployed to provide emergency and inpatient care. People are being urged to plan ahead and to choose NHS 111 first for any urgent health needs during the planned industrial action.
Local NHS trusts have undertaken a significant amount of planning to ensure staffing rotas are covered to keep patients already in hospital safe and well cared for, and to keep our emergency departments open and safe for people with true emergencies. However, it is anticipated that Emergency Departments across the system will be very busy over this period.
The public are therefore reminded to please only attend an Emergency Department if it’s absolutely necessary during this time. Chest pain, difficulty breathing, bleeding that won’t stop and signs of a stroke are examples of medical emergencies and people should always call 999 or attend an emergency department for these conditions. However, for more minor but still urgent health needs, the public are encouraged to use 111 first.
Here are some things that people can do during this period to look after themselves and their loved ones:
- Think NHS 111 first. For anything which feels urgent, or if you don’t know what to do, visit https://111.nhs.uk/ or call 111 and you will be directed to the most appropriate service. Trained NHS advisors can provide health advice, connect you to a healthcare professional, arrange a face-to-face appointment including home visits and out of hours appointments, or give you an arrival time if you need to go to your local emergency department.
- If you need urgent mental health help, call 111 and choose the mental health option.
- Remember self-care. Many common ailments can be treated at home with a well-stocked first aid kit.Heartburn and hangovers for example can be treated at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
- Visit your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies are open over bank holidays and can offer expert advice on common conditions such as colds, sore throats and rashes. Check pharmacy Easter opening hours in advance.
- In case of emergency. Only call 999 or attend accident and emergency departments for serious accidents and for genuine emergencies, like chest pain, breathing difficulties, signs of a stroke or bleeding that won’t stop. Please do not delay in calling if you need this service.
- Check in on family members, friends, neighbours to ensure people remain well at home.