The plea is being made as NHS services across the country work to finalise their plans to prepare for industrial action that is being taken by junior doctors next week (13 March to 16 March). The action is being led by the British Medical Association (BMA) – the trade union and professional body for doctors and medical students in the UK.
That industrial action is due to take place over a 72-hour period between 7am on Monday 13 March and 7am on Thursday 16 March, with the action due to impact the county’s hospitals, mental health, GP and other NHS services.
Dr Dave Briggs, Medical Director at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said: “We are asking patients to use all our services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most. This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.
“Services are expected to be impacted across the whole healthcare system including hospitals, mental health services and primary care, as GP trainees are junior doctors. This may affect some appointments and clinics but our message to the public is to please continue to attend your appointments unless you are contacted and told otherwise. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.”
The planned industrial action is due to include colleagues from Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI), Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital.
As a Trust, we are doing everything we can to keep essential urgent and emergency care services running to guarantee that patients can continue to access vital medical attention when they need it most.
We are incredibly grateful to all our staff who will be going above-and-beyond to continue to deliver those services during this period of action that we know will have a significant impact.
Like our partners, our message to our patients throughout this time is clear: ‘Please choose the right service for your needs and continue to attend your appointments as planned, unless we contact you to rearrange.
Here’s how you can help your NHS during planned industrial action:
- Continue to come forward if you need urgent medical care, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases. Your NHS is here for you when you need it – especially if you or your loved ones become seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
- To help your NHS to focus on patients who need emergency care most, please only call 999 or attend A&E departments for serious accidents and genuine emergencies.
- If your relative is due to be discharged from hospital and needs to be collected, please do whatever you can to help bring them home as early as possible. This will help our teams to free-up a hospital bed for someone waiting to be admitted.
- Please consider the full range of NHS services that are available to you. When you need urgent medical attention but it’s not an emergency, alternative support is available by visiting NHS111 online or by calling 111.
- Pharmacies can also offer over-the-counter advice and treat common illnesses such as colds, sore throats, stings and allergies.