Public asked to avoid A&E during junior doctors strike

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As junior doctors prepare to strike next week the public are being asked to consider alternatives to the emergency department.

As things stand, a full withdrawal of labour by junior doctors is set to take place between 8am and 5pm on both Tuesday, April 26 and Wednesday, April 27.

If the industrial action goes ahead, it will be the first time junior doctors have staged a full walkout and will not be providing emergency care.

Next week’s planned industrial action is set to last for 18 hours in total.

Dr Alex Gaw, of NHS North Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is even more important than ever that the public choose the right place and right service when they do need medical care during the two days of industrial action.

““NHS organisations have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action but this is an unprecedented situation for the NHS. We are working to ensure there are robust plans that protect the safety, welfare and service provided to patients, which remains our top priority. Plans are in place across the country to deliver continued safe services for patients but in some places the NHS service may be under specific pressure. We want people to plan so they know what to do if they need medical care during the course of this industrial action.

“The NHS is open for business but we ask the public to use it wisely in this very challenging time as some services may change and some may be busier than usual so contact services early if you need to book appointments during this time.”

GP surgeries will provide services as normal, but local Accident & Emergency department will be busy.

Other services may be able to assist:

Your GP, pharmacist, NHS 111 telephone service or the NHS Choices website may be able to help. For more information visit:www.nhs.uk/staywell

The out-of-hours urgent GP care is available after 6.30pm on weekdays, at weekends and Bank Holidays by calling NHS 111. The out-of-hours service is for those with urgent healthcare needs. If your concern relates to a child under 12, you will always be offered a face-to-face appointment.

If an illness or injury is not serious, there are many local ‘Pharmacy First’ branches across Lancashire that operate a minor ailments service with specially trained experts who can advise on:

Coughs and colds, including nasal congestion and sore throat

Minor cuts and bruises

Aches and pains, such as headaches, earache and back pain

NHS Choices have an A-Z medical page, www.nhs.uk/Conditions which is useful for checking the early symptoms of a minor illness.

To keep you updated, please visit @LancsNorthCCG for the latest information.

Patients should visit http://www.nhs.uk/strike for local updates on services.