NHS warns of disruption as consultants, junior doctors and radiographers from the British Medical Association, Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association and Society of Radiographers set to walk out
Residents in need of healthcare have been urged to avoid NHS emergency departments unless the situation is life-threatening, amid fresh strikes starting Monday.
For the first time since the pay dispute with the government began at the start of the year, consultants, junior doctors and radiographers will be taking industrial action at the same time.
Consultants who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) and junior doctors who are members of the BMA and HCSA (Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association) are set to take industrial action from 7am on Monday until 7am on Thursday.
Radiographers who are members of the Society of Radiographers (SoR) will also go on strike for 24 hours from 8am on Tuesday, meaning that consultants, junior doctors and radiographers will be on strike together for 24 hours.
During this time the NHS is urging patients to choose the most appropriate service for their need.
Deputy chief medical officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, Tim Cooper, said: “We are asking you to help your local NHS by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after yourselves, your loved ones and to check in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.
“No one should put off seeking urgent care in an emergency during the strike action, however we are urging people to only attend our emergency departments if it is a life-threatening situation.
“There are a number of alternative services including pharmacies, urgent treatment centres (UTCs), Healthier Together website and 111 online.
“By using one of these alternative services, it allows our teams in our emergency departments to attend to those patients who urgently need care and attention.”
Those with appointments during the industrial action should attend as planned, unless contacted.
Mr Cooper added: “We are working closely with our partners across the counties to plan, prepare and mitigate the potential impact and patient care remains our top priority.
“We are working hard to ensure that we continue to deliver the best level of care possible.”
During the strikes, junior doctors and consultants have agreed to provide Christmas Day levels of cover.
This would ensure that emergency care would continue to be provided, but elective or non-emergency work would need to be cancelled.
As industrial action across the NHS enters its 10th month it is estimated around 885,154 hospital appointments have been impacted so far.