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NHS in the South East urges public to use services wisely as consultant strike due to begin

NHS in the South East urges public to use services wisely as consultant strike due to begin
19 July 2023

The public are being urged to use NHS services in the South East wisely as the British Medical Association (BMA) Consultants and British Dental Association (BDA) begin 48 hours of industrial action starting at 7am on Thursday (20/7).

Senior doctors, who not only see patients but are responsible for supervising junior doctors and other staff, are to take action on Thursday 20 July and Friday 21 July as the current round of junior doctors concluded this morning.

Planned and routine non-urgent care is expected to be disrupted when the consultants walk out. When consultants take strike action, they will stop delivering care directly or providing supervision of the work of junior staff. Without supervision it may not be possible for some care delivered by junior doctors or other staff to take place safely.

Consultants have committed however to provide Christmas Day cover, meaning they will continue to provide all emergency services to ensure patients remain safe.

NHS England’s South East Medical Director for System Improvement and Professional Standards, Alison Taylor, said: “ Coming off the back of the junior doctors strikes, we are expecting to see more planned care impacted with appointments and surgeries likely to be cancelled.

“During the consultants strike please take care of yourself and use NHS services wisely to make sure care is available for those patients who need it most.

“It is likely 999 and 111 call handlers will be very busy, this may mean longer call response times. As a result, we are urging anyone with non-urgent care need to first seek help from NHS 111 online and only using 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

“I would like to thank people for helping us during industrial action and allowing us to care for those most in need.”

If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.

GP practices will continue to be open during the consultants strikes. Please continue to attend your GP and dental appointments unless you are contacted and told otherwise.

The Society of Radiographers has also announced that it will be holding 48 hours of strikes, from 8am on Tuesday 25 July to 8am on Thursday 27 July.

To help ease pressure on the NHS as people begin their summer holidays, during the industrial action, please remember that if you’re staying in England this summer and need a GP appointment, please call your surgery back home. You can easily order repeat prescriptions via the NHS App, though your GP practice website or, if you do not have access to GP online services, by calling your GP practice. Ensure you have a fully stocked first aid kit at home or with you.

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