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Public urged to avoid emergency departments as junior doctors set to strike again

Residents are urged to attend emergency departments only in life-threatening situations ahead of a 10th strike by junior doctors.

The latest walkout, which begins at 7am on Saturday 24th February and runs until 11.59pm the following Wednesday, involves members of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HSCA) due to a pay dispute.

Junior doctors have gone on strike for 34 days since last March in 10 separate stoppages lasting between three and six days each.

Junior doctors will strike from Saturday (picture: istock/David Gyung)
Junior doctors will strike from Saturday (picture: istock/David Gyung)

Chief medical officer for NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Dr Lara Alloway, said: “No-one should put off seeking help in an emergency during the strike action, however we are urging people to only attend our emergency departments if it is a life or limb-threatening situation.

“We are so grateful to our public who have supported their local NHS so well during the previous strike action by choosing carefully which NHS service to access and we ask that they do that again this coming weekend.

“You can help by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after yourselves, your loved ones and to check in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.”

Pharmacies, urgent treatment centres such as the facility at Lymington Hospital, the Healthier Together app and 111 online are unaffected by strike action.

Lymington New Forest Hospital has an urgent treatment centre
Lymington New Forest Hospital has an urgent treatment centre

Dr Alloway added: “By using one of these services it allows our teams in our emergency departments to attend to those patients who need urgent care and attention.

“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 and thank you for your help and understanding.”

Patients with appointments booked on strike days will be contacted by the NHS if it needs to be rescheduled.

If you have not been contacted, you should attend your appointment as planned.

This is the final period of industrial action by junior doctors before they vote on whether to hold further strikes.

The current legal mandate for strike action expires on 29th February. If junior doctors vote in favour of extending their mandate period, they will be able to take further strike action between 3rd April and 19th September.

Anyone with an urgent medical problem is advised to contact 111 online at 111.nhs.uk

Details of pharmacies and Urgent Treatment Centres can be found here.

The Healthier Together app provides advice on caring for children up to the age of 18 as well as advice and guidance for pregnant women.

For more information on local health services and getting the right care for your needs, click here.

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