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Advice for patients during strike action

Junior doctors will go on strike from:

  • 7am, Thursday 27 June 2024 until 7am, Tuesday 2 July 2024

This is going to impact on NHS services including services across Hertfordshire, west Essex and East of England.

Public support is being requested as these strikes will cause significant disruption. There will also be some disruption before and after as NHS services adjust to prepare for the industrial period.

To prioritise life-saving emergency treatment, hospitals may have to postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Anyone whose treatment is going to be cancelled will be contacted directly.

If you come to A&E with a minor condition or illness during the strike, you are likely to face a very long wait and may be sent away to an alternative service.

The emergency department is always there for people with serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies, like heart attacks, strokes, or breathing difficulties, so in a genuine medical emergency call 999. For more information on when to call 999 and when to go to A&E, you can visit the NHS UK website.

General Practice services will be open on as normal Monday – Friday with some weekend appointments that can be booked as well. Please contact your surgery as usual on their online form on their website. Please contact them first if you have a health condition that needs checking or an illness that won’t go away.

NHS 111 online

People who need care for a life-threatening emergency should continue to go to A&E or call 999 for assistance. However, if your issue is not a life-threatening medical emergency, use NHS 111 online first. 111 online can be reached via 111.nhs.uk, and offers advice on urgent medical concerns as well as information about prescriptions and the option to order emergency repeat prescriptions if you have completely run out.


If you have any scheduled appointments, attend as normal, unless you are contacted otherwise and your appointment has been postponed.


  • Make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in good time – ensure you have supplies of essential prescription medicine you will need over the strike period. Use the online form on your GP’s website or the NHS app to order your repeat prescriptions.  Get your requests in, in plenty of time, allowing up to five working days before you need more medicine. You may even be able to pick for a repeat at your regular pharmacy, meaning you just need to make a note in your diary for when to pick up your next lot of medication.
  • Remind anyone visiting you over the next few weeks who are coming to stay to bring their prescription medicine with them.
  • Stock up on general medication such as painkillers, cold/flu medications, antihistamines, oral rehydration salts, anti-diarrhoea tablets and indigestion treatments before the holiday begins. Many own brand medicines can save you money and be just as effective.
  • If you have a pre-booked appointment at hospital or a clinic, attend as scheduled, unless you are contacted and told your appointment has been postponed.
  • Local pharmacies and GP practices will be open as usual. Please contact them first if you have a health condition that needs checking or an illness that won't go away.
  • You can find a list of pharmacies or Urgent Care Centres that are open out of hours by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the NHS service finder on the front page of the website.
  • If you need urgent health help, use NHS 111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) or call 111.
  • If you are in a mental health crisis, call NHS 111 and get straight through to mental health help by selecting option 2.
  • Feeling a bit under the weather? The NHS website has lots of advice to help you to look after yourself when you have minor symptoms. There is also information about what is a serious medical emergency: When to call 999 - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • Do not visit anyone in a hospital or care home if you have recently had diarrhoea or vomiting. Stomach bugs are easily spread, make already ill people very seriously unwell, and can lead to whole hospital wards being closed. Please wait 48 hours after your last bout of sickness or diarrhoea before visiting anyone who is vulnerable. 
  • Please visit the NHS Website at www.nhs.uk and use the ‘Find a Pharmacy’ tool to check for any updates on the availability of local pharmacies.

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