The NHS in Leeds is urging people to plan ahead for their healthcare needs as it prepares for another period of industrial action by doctors next week that will significantly impact NHS services.
Hospital consultants will take part in strike action on Tuesday 19 September and Wednesday 20 September and from Monday 2 October to Wednesday 4 October.
Junior doctors will strike from Wednesday 20 September to Friday 22 September and from Monday 2 October to Wednesday 4 October.
During the joint strikes, junior doctors and consultants will provide “Christmas Day” cover during the planned industrial action, meaning minimal emergency services will remain open but elective care will not.
Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Medical Director for the NHS Leeds Integrated Care Board, said:
“The safety and care of people who use our services is our highest priority, and it is important that people continue to use our services when they need them.
“NHS teams across Leeds will be working throughout the strike period to keep people safe and well, but services will be affected. Our region’s hospitals and mental health trusts will be significantly impacted, as will some GP practices, and this will have a knock on effect on other parts of the healthcare system.
“That’s why we’re asking everyone to work with us to ensure they’re prepared for their medical needs during strike action.
“Some hospital appointments and planned treatment may need to be rearranged but please attend any booked appointments unless you hear otherwise. Healthcare teams will contact people as soon as possible if your appointment needs to be changed.
“If you take regular medication, check you have enough for the week ahead and if you need more, please order and collect it before the planned strikes. Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet and taking care if you’re doing any DIY or physical activities will also help avoid a visit to your local emergency department.
“If you or someone close to you needs medical help, please get advice about the most appropriate treatment option by using 111 online (111.nhs.uk) or calling 111 if you don’t have access to the internet. Remember 999 and A&E departments are for the most serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses.”
NHS 111 is a free, 24 hour online or phone service that provides help and advice on the most appropriate medical care; it can also arrange phone consultations with healthcare professionals and book appointments at urgent treatment and out of hours medical centres. Parents and carers of young children can also find health advice on the West Yorkshire Healthier Together website.
For people who have repeat prescriptions, electronic repeat dispensing (known as eRD) gives them the reassurance of knowing their next prescription will be ready for collection at their pharmacy when they need it, and flexibility so they have medication at busy times. Guidance on how to order a repeat prescription is also available on the NHS website, or you can use the NHS App to order repeat prescriptions.
People may also consider having at home a small stock of basic medicines for minor illness or injury. These may include paracetamol, plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoeal medicine. See the NHS website for advice on what you should keep in your first aid kit, or ask your local pharmacist for advice.
Mental health support will continue to be available throughout the strike period. Visit togetherwe-can.com/mental-health for details of local services. For urgent help in a mental health crisis, call the Leeds local 24 hr helpline: 0800 183 0558.
Regardless of the planned strike action, the NHS is urging anyone who needs medical care to continue to come forward in the normal way: attending booked appointments unless they are contacted; using NHS 111 for advice on which service to use; or calling 999 or going to your nearest emergency department (A&E) if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
Note to editors
- The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that hospital consultants will take part in strike action on Tuesday 19 September and Wednesday 20 September and from Monday 2 October to Wednesday 4 October.
- Junior doctors will strike from Wednesday 20 September to Friday 22 September and from Monday 2 October to Wednesday 4 October.
- During the joint strikes, junior doctors and consultants will provide “Christmas Day” cover during the planned industrial action, meaning minimal emergency services will remain open but elective care will not.
- Junior doctors are qualified doctors who have anywhere up to eight years’ experience working as a hospital doctor, depending on their specialty, or up to three years in general practice.