Advice for patients
The NHS in mid Essex is working hard to ensure that as few patients as possible are affected by the industrial action this week, but some services will need to change and some are likely to be busier than usual.
Junior doctors are due to take industrial action on Tues 26 April and Wed 27 April between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Originally, this was due to be a full withdrawal of labour for a 48 hour period, but has since changed to 8am to 5pm over the two days. Other doctors and staff will continue to provide care as normal.
The action is likely to significantly reduce the availability of healthcare across Mid Essex and, for the sake of patient safety, we would ask people to read our guidelines before attempting to access NHS services during strike action.
You will hear directly from the hospital if your appointment has been moved. Should you have an existing appointment and you have not heard from the hospital, you may assume the appointment is going ahead. Patients already in hospital will continue to receive normal care, with senior staff covering for junior doctors. Inpatients will be told if any changes to their planned treatment are needed because of the strike.
We are setting out plans to ensure the action will have minimal impact to the care provision of patients across mid Essex but we need the co operation of all patients to ensure the service runs as smoothly as possible.
If you have a long-term health condition or you look after someone else – including, for example, elderly people or young children – it's important that you know what to do if you need the NHS during the industrial action. Apart from your GP or hospital, there’s a range of other primary care services that can offer help, such as your pharmacist, dentist or optician. There are also specific services provided by midwives, health visitors and specialist nurses – check you know how to contact anyone you might need to talk to.
If you need regular medication for yourself or someone you care for, be sure to get the prescription from your GP and collect the medicine from your pharmacist.
If you are pregnant, make sure you know how to contact your midwifery team if you need help or advice. If you are near your due date, check arrangements with your maternity unit.
Your local GP will be open during their normal working hours. They will be much busier than normal and are likely to be forced to prioritise who they are able to see over the 48 hour period. If you need to see your GP about something urgent, it is better to do so beforehand.
If you need emergency care, Accident and Emergency departments will be open to deal with serious and life-threatening conditions. As is always the case, only those adults and children with genuine emergency needs should go to A&E. Emergencies include:
- major injuries, such as broken limbs or severe head injury
- loss of consciousness
- an acute confused state
- severe chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that can't be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
We urge people to avoid using A&E services unless their condition is serious and needs immediate attention.
Alternatives to A&E
If you become ill with a non-urgent condition and need advice, please visit Health A-Z for information or go to your local pharmacist. For more urgent conditions that you believe you can’t take care of yourself please cal NHS 111 for medical advice. Bear in mind that these services may be busier than normal during the strike.