A hand with a stylus writing on a tablet. The person is wearing a white doctor's coat and has a blue disposable glove on their left hand, which is holding the tablet.

Junior doctors will be taking five days of strike action at the end of June and start of July. There will be a walk out from 7am on Thursday 27 June 2024 until 7am on Tuesday 2 July 2024.

The local NHS will be under significantly more pressure than usual during this time and is therefore encouraging people to be prepared for their medical needs in advance and to know what to do should they, or a family member, become unwell.  

The information below explains about the likely impact of strikes in mid and south Essex and information about how you can help us to get important messages out in our communities.

A dedicated webpage is also available with further information and guidance.  

Lots of careful planning is taking place, however 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 highly likely to postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Where this is the case, patients will be contacted directly. 

GP practices will also be without junior doctors during the industrial action. Please be patient with practice teams as they try get through large volumes of calls and prioritise care accordingly.

What can you do to help?

Please ensure that regardless of any action taking place, if you need care you should continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-saving cases.

Top tips for local residents

  • 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.
  • Adults experiencing a mental health crisis, can speak to a mental health professional anytime, day or night, by calling NHS 111 and selecting the option for mental health. Call 0800 995 1000 for under 18s who need urgent mental health support.
  • The NHS website has lots of advice for 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 basic 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.
  • Your local pharmacist can also provide some prescription medicines for certain conditions, if needed, without a GP appointment. You can get care directly from a pharmacist for conditions including earache (children 0-17), impetigo, infected insect bites, shingles, sinusitis, sore throat and urinary tract infections (UTIs) for women ages 16-64 from local pharmacies.
  • If you need to order prescription medication or repeat prescriptions, please allow 72 hours’ notice, to both the GP practice and the pharmacy.
  • You can find a list of pharmacies by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the ‘Find a Pharmacy’ tool.
  • GP phone lines are likely to be even busier than normal, so please be patient as practice staff try to help as many people as they can. If you have a computer or smartphone, you can use the NHS App or your GP practice’s e-consultation service, which directs your query quickly to the right member of practice staff and helps free up the telephone lines for those who aren’t online.
  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments at our hospitals only have the capacity to treat people who have serious or life-threatening conditions. If you use emergency services with a minor issue you are risking the lives of others and may not get the treatment for your symptoms as quickly as you will elsewhere.
  • If you have a scheduled appointment with an NHS service and you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
  • Do not visit health settings or care homes 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.  

For more information visit: Industrial action advice - Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (ics.nhs.uk)

Published: Tuesday, 25th June 2024