NHS leaders at Hampshire Hospitals are urging the public to take critical steps to help keep urgent and emergency care available to patients who need it most during consultant strikes.
This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 in an emergency - when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
The British Medical Association (BMA) have announced that consultants will be striking at NHS organisations across England from 7am on Thursday 20 July to 7am on Saturday 22 July.
Consultants are senior doctors who not only provide care to patients but are responsible for supervising junior doctors and other staff to enable them to carry out services. 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. Some planned care may be postponed ensuring patient safety across our emergency services, though every effort will be made to keep this to a minimum.
Alex Whitfield, chief executive at Hampshire Hospitals, says “We have been planning extensively, to minimise the impact on our services. However, it is unfortunately inevitable that disruption will occur during this strike action.
Providing the best possible care for our patients, their families, and carers remains our priority, and we are working closely with our partners to ensure our services run smoothly and safely. We are prioritising emergency and urgent care, which sadly means that some less urgent or planned care may be delayed.
"Our hospitals are very busy, and with the consultant strike taking place in between other industrial action by junior doctors and radiographers, we are asking members of the public to help.
"Our emergency departments are there for those who are in a genuine medical emergency and who need our care most. You can help by only attending our emergency departments if it is an urgent and/or life-threatening situation. For all other healthcare needs, please consider alternatives such as NHS 111, your GP or local pharmacies.”
Patients who have hospital appointments during this period should still attend as planned unless they have been contacted directly.
The public can also help by taking simple steps to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours. Ensure you have a fully stocked first aid kit at home or with you. Find out what you need here: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/what-should-i-keep-in-my-first-aid-kit/