Public warned to expect significant service disruption ahead of upcoming NHS industrial action

Health leaders are urging members of the public to use services appropriately ahead of planned 72-hour industrial action by junior doctors – with all NHS Trusts across Cheshire and Merseyside set to be impacted.

The British Medical Association (BMA), Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) and British Dental Association (BDA) have confirmed that members plan to join strike action from Monday, March 13th to Wednesday, March 15th.

Prof Rowan Pritchard Jones, Medical Director at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, admits there is likely to be significant service disruption and is urging people to make NHS 111 Online their first port of call for non-emergency health needs.

Prof Pritchard Jones said: “The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to mitigate risks to patient safety and manage any disruption, including industrial action, but inevitably a walkout on this scale is likely to lead to significant service disruption.

“Urgent and emergency care services will be open but, with NHS services already under pressure, it has arguably never been more important for people to use the available services appropriately.

“We are immensely grateful to the people of Cheshire and Merseyside for continuing to use NHS services thoughtfully. If you need to access a healthcare service, but it’s not an emergency, please use NHS 111 Online to ensure you are signposted to the right service first time.”

The NHS will continue to do everything it can to go ahead with planned procedures – especially for patients in greatest clinical need – and will contact you if an appointment needs to be rescheduled. If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.

Local NHS services will also keep their websites and social media accounts up-to-date with information about local service disruption – so please check before you travel.

Prof Pritchard Jones added: “Irrespective of any industrial action, please do not hesitate to come forward to access care if you need it.”

NHS 111 Online can tell you:

  • Where to get help for your symptoms
  • How to find general health information and advice
  • Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • How to get a repeat prescription

More information about when to call 999 and when to go to A&E is available via the national NHS website.