Local NHS preparing for further strike action

The doctors’ union the British Medical Association has announced that junior doctors across the country will go on for a further five days, after national pay negotiations failed to reach agreement.

Local NHS leaders across mid and south Essex are appealing for the public’s support as they prepare for another period of strike action, which will cause significant disruption to local services.

The strike will run from 7am on Saturday 24 February to 11.59pm on Wednesday 28 February 2024. There will also be some disruption before and after the strike as NHS services make adjustments to prepare for the strike period.

It is anticipated that both routine and emergency care are likely to be significantly affected. In order to prioritise life-saving emergency treatment for people who need it, hospitals are likely to postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Where this is the case, patients will be contacted directly. If you have not been contacted, you should attend appointments as planned.

Top tips for Mid and South Essex residents

  • Make sure you have supplies of the essential prescription medicine you will need over the strike period. Use the online form on your GP’s website or the NHS app to order your repeat prescriptions if you can.  Make sure you get requests in in plenty of time, allowing up to five working days before you need more medicine.
  • If you have a pre-booked appointment at hospital or a clinic, attend as scheduled, unless you have been contacted and your appointment has been postponed.
  • GP services will be open on Monday 26 February as normal so please contact your practice as usual on their online form on their website.
  • If you need urgent health help, use NHS 111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) or call 111. Your symptoms will be assessed, and you will be provided with healthcare advice or an appointment to see a doctor or nurse if this is needed. NHS 111 can also send an ambulance and can book an appointment for you in some services like urgent treatment centres.
  • If you are in a mental health crisis, call NHS 111 and get straight through to mental health help by selecting option 2.
  • Feeling a bit under the weather? The NHS website has lots of advice to help you to look after yourself when you have minor symptoms. There is also information about what is a serious medical emergency: When to call 999 – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • Pick up a few medicines while you’re shopping so that you can look after very minor illnesses or injuries yourself.  You can buy essentials like paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, antiseptic cream, allergy medicine and indigestion remedies from pharmacies and supermarkets for less than the cost of a prescription. Remember, cheaper non-branded versions of medicines work just as well as branded products.
  • You can find a list of pharmacies that are open out of hours by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the NHS service finder on the front page of the website.
  • Do not visit anyone in a hospital or care home if you have recently had diarrhoea or vomiting. Stomach bugs are easily spread, make already ill people very seriously unwell, and can lead to whole hospital wards being closed. Please wait 48 hours after your last bout of sickness or diarrhoea before visiting anyone who is vulnerable.

Choose the right care service to meet your needs – go to further information on the Mid and South Essex ICB website.