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Further health strike action this month

With upcoming strike action by junior doctors from 7am this Saturday 24 February until 11:59pm on Wednesday 28 February 2024, people are being advised to follow guidance due to the impact on services. 

This will cause significant disruption to local services. There will also be some disruption before and after these dates as NHS services make adjustments to prepare for the period of industrial action. With many doctors expected to be on strike, hospitals will not be able to run as normal and services will be working under immense pressure.

Due to the pressure on local emergency and urgent care services in Hertfordshire, West Essex, East of England and Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, people are being advised to only come to hospital emergency departments if they have a serious injury or life-threatening emergency – for example heavy bleeding, severe chest pain or stroke-like symptoms.

NHS 111 online

Please go to 111 online (111.nhs.uk) for help and advice, but call 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency. If you have an appointment booked on strike days, unless you are contacted by the NHS to reschedule your appointment, you should still attend as planned. 

Appointments and services 

If you have a pre-booked appointment at hospital or a clinic, attend as scheduled, unless you have been contacted and your appointment has been postponed.

Not all services will be directly impacted by the strike action for example services that HCT provides and GP services, but they may be busier than usual. Health services will do their best to provide care under the circumstances.

Preparing yourself

  • Ensure you have supplies of essential prescription medicine.  Use the online form on your GP’s website or the NHS app to order your repeat prescriptions.  Get requests in in plenty of time, allowing up to five working days before you need more medicine. 
  • GP services will be open on Monday 26 February as normal so please contact your practice as usual on their online form on their website.
  • If you need urgent health help, use NHS 111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) or call 111. Your symptoms will be assessed, and you will be provided with healthcare advice or an appointment to see a doctor or nurse if this is needed. NHS 111 can also send an ambulance and can book an appointment for you in some services like urgent treatment centres.
  • 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)
  • Pick up a few medicines for minor illnesses or injuries, like paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, antiseptic cream, allergy medicine and indigestion remedies from pharmacies and supermarkets for less than the cost of a prescription. Remember, cheaper non-branded versions of medicines work just as well as branded products.
  • Find a list of pharmacies or Urgent Care Centres open out of hours by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the NHS service finder on the front page of the website.
  • 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.

Further advice and information

For more information on when to call 999 and when to go to A&E, visit the NHS UK website - (nhs.uk)

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