The NHS in mid and south Essex will be working hard to keep people safe during the planned strikes, while delivering the best care possible.
Unions representing junior doctors have announced five days of industrial action in February. There will be a full walk out from 7am on Saturday 24 February 2024 until 11:59pm on Wednesday 28 February 2024. Junior doctors at all major hospitals in the mid and south Essex area are scheduled to strike.
If you have an appointment, please continue to come forward for the care you need. Please don’t call to check if your appointment is going ahead. You will be contacted directly if your appointment needs to be rearranged.
No-one should put off seeking urgent or emergency care during the strikes and people with serious, life-threatening conditions will continue to be seen at our Emergency Departments.
However, please keep 999 and A&E clear for genuine life-threatening emergencies, and use NHS 111 online or by phone for other urgent care needs or if you’re unsure about whether you should go to hospital. If you are contacting 111, please give as much information as you can, as that will help you get the right support and advice.Choose the right service for you, when you are feeling unwell
On days when there is strike action, people should only call 999 if it is a medical or mental health emergency.
During strike action local NHS services will prioritise resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma, and ensure we prioritise patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.
Extensive work is ongoing to ensure we provide as safe a service as possible, however there will be fewer ambulances on the roads. While they will still be able to respond to emergencies, our teams must prioritise life-threatening incidents – so other emergencies may not get an ambulance on strike days.
Patients should take advice from 111 or 999 call-handlers on whether there are circumstances where it is suitable for them to make their own way to hospital. During strike days, it is likely call handling teams will be very busy. Anyone with non-urgent care should first seek help from either a pharmacy or NHS 111 online.
Visit our Choose Well page for information on local services including local pharmacies. Going to your local pharmacy offers an easy and convenient way to get clinical advice on minor health concerns, and now community pharmacies can offer treatment for seven common conditions without patients needing to see a GP, as part of a major transformation in the way the NHS delivers care.
Approximately 98% of pharmacies across mid and south Essex can now assess and treat patients for earache, impetigo, infected insect bites, shingles, sinusitis, sore throat, urinary tract infections (UTIs) for women aged 16-64 – without the need for a GP appointment or prescription. They can also advise if another NHS service is needed. Visit the NHS website for more information or search find a pharmacy for information about your nearest pharmacy opening times.
Visit the NHS England website for further information about the strikes including answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
The NHS continues to face high demand and industrial action means these services will be under more pressure, so it is vital that people use the services available appropriately.
Information relating to junior doctor industrial action only
GP practices will be open but some of our teaching practices that employ junior doctors as part of their training may be short staffed and this will impact on the availability of appointments. When patients contact practices, reception teams will continue to arrange for people to be supported by an appropriate member of staff who can meet their needs, including practice nurses or physiotherapists. They may also book patients into appointments at community pharmacies for some minor illnesses.
Junior doctors make up around half of all doctors in the NHS. They are qualified doctors who have anywhere up to eight year’s experience working as a hospital doctor, depending on their chosen speciality, or up to three years in a GP practice. Junior Doctors work across the whole NHS in hospitals and Emergency Care and in GP practices.