The upcoming consultants strike and August Bank Holiday is likely to put local NHS services under significant pressure, and local people are being urged to choose services appropriately during this time and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most.
British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that consultants will take part in strike action from 7am on Thursday 24 August until 7am on Saturday 26 August. The August Bank Holiday will run from Saturday 26 August until Monday 28 August.
Previous rounds of strike action had a significant impact on local services across the county with more than 1,200 appointments and procedures needing to be rescheduled.
Dr Emma Donnelly, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Northamptonshire ICB and local GP said: “Consultants are senior doctors who not only see patients but are responsible for supervising junior doctors and other staff.
“When consultants take strike action they 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.
“When consultants go on strike they have committed to ensuring that emergency services remain in place with staffing levels in line with that in place on ‘Christmas Day’ levels of care. This will ensure that emergency care would continue to be provided, but elective or non-emergency work may be significantly impacted.
“If it is not a life-threatening emergency - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk - please use alternative NHS services to ensure our limited workforce can focus on those with the highest need.
“We apologise to local people who are impacted by this action and thank them for their continued co-operation, patience and understanding.”
Advice ahead of the industrial action
Ahead of the industrial action, the advice for anyone that is travelling to other areas is to:
- Make sure you have ordered and collected any repeat medicines – you can order repeat prescriptions online or via the NHS app
- Remember that your first port of call for GP care is your home practice, which will be able to provide online, phone and video consultations as well as arranging for prescriptions to be sent to any pharmacy you choose
- For non-urgent health queries please use your pharmacy or 111 online
Options available to patients during strike action and over the Bank Holiday:
Patients with urgent health concerns
Anyone who needs urgent care should use 111.nhs.uk to be assessed and directed to the right care for them. If needed a healthcare professional will call you back and
this option can save you time in waiting areas. If you do not have internet access or you are contacting 111 about a patient aged 5 or under, please call 111 instead.
Corby Urgent Care Centre is open every day, including over the Bank Holiday, between 8am and 8pm and can help with minor injuries/ illnesses such as lacerations, sprains, strains, minor burns or scalds.
GP practices will also continue to be open, including the enhanced access service (out of hours) but are also likely to be extremely busy. Please continue to contact your GP practice if you need GP services and the out of hours service can be reached via 111.nhs.uk Remember you can also book appointments and order repeat prescriptions online or by using the NHS app.
Patients with minor illnesses and injuries
Your local pharmacy can help with minor illnesses like coughs, colds and red eye. They are open late, over the Bank Holiday and no appointment is needed. Visit the NHS England website for Bank Holiday opening times.
Patients who need medical help or advice but are unsure where to go
Patients who need medical help or advice but are unsure where to go, should contact NHS 111 online unless it unless it is a life-threatening emergency when you should still call 999.
Patients who have an appointment on strike days
Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned unless your local NHS provider has contacted you to reschedule. If they have not contacted you, please attend your appointment.
GP services will be running as normal on strike days. Please continue to attend scheduled GP appointments as planned.
Patients should continue to call 999 in a medical or mental health emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.