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People across the South East urged to look after themselves and use NHS services appropriately ahead of this week’s strike action and hot weather

People across the South East urged to look after themselves and use NHS services appropriately ahead of this week’s strike action and hot weather
13 June 2023

The public across the South East are being asked to think ahead to ensure critical NHS services are available for those most in need, as preparations are made for the next round of industrial action.  

Planned by the British Medical Association, Junior Doctors will be striking for 72 hours, from 7am on Wednesday 14 June to 7am on Saturday 17 June.   

This will create significant challenges for the NHS, which has already seen a busy weekend with an increase in attendances at Emergency Departments, particularly with people presenting with respiratory conditions due to the hot weather.   

It is vital the public are aware of the pressure the health service will be under this week and there are many precautions which could be taken to help keep people well during the warm weather and avoid putting pressures on services ahead of industrial action.   

The NHS is working hard to 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.  

The NHS will only reschedule appointments and procedures where necessary and will rebook immediately, where possible. Any patients who are impacted by the strike action will be contacted directly – for those who are not contacted, appointments will take place as planned.  

General practice, community pharmacies, and dentistry are not impacted by strike action and the public should continue to access these services as needed on strike days.  

NHS England South East Regional Chief Nurse, Acosia Nyanin, said: “If you need urgent medical care during the period of industrial action please come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.  

“Call-handlers through 111 /999 will be able to provide advice and assess whether circumstances are suitable for patients to make their own way to hospital, so we urge patients to listen to what they say.   

“Throughout the period of industrial action, the phone lines are likely to be very busy. We are urging anyone with a non-urgent care need to first seek help from NHS 111 online.”  

Acosia added: “To help ease pressure on the NHS during an extremely busy time with the strikes, please also remember to take care of yourself in the hot weather.    

“Applying sunscreen, keeping hydrated and walking in the shade are just a few steps you can take to avoid becoming ill in the sun.  

“We’d advise people to keep out of the sun at the hottest time of the day, between 11am and 3pm. If you are going to do a physical activity, for example exercise or walking the dog, plan to do these during times of the day when it is cooler such as the morning or evening.
“Hot weather can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, lung problems and other diseases. Older people, babies and young children are more likely to be unwell from hot weather because their bodies are less able to regulate temperature. People with underlying medical conditions can also be vulnerable to the effects of hot weather.”

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