Hospital bosses are warning of significant disruption to services in Lancashire and South Cumbria, as they prepare for a 72 hour strike.
Junior doctors and hospital consultants are set to strike at the same time, in the latest round of industrial action, which will see continuous strikes over three days, starting from 7am on Monday October 2 until 7am Thursday October 5.
Only ‘Christmas Day’ cover will be in place.
In a statement, the NHS said they were working hard to prioritise resources during industrial action to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma, and ensure we prioritise patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.
They add that will only reschedule appointments and procedures where necessary and will rebook immediately, where possible.
The hospital consultants and junior doctor strikes will have a significant impact on planned and routine care. The NHS will contact patients if an appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. If you have not been contacted, you should attend your appointment as planned.
October will be the 11th month of the most disruptive and significant period of industrial action across the NHS in its 75-year history.
The impact of previous industrial action has been significant with the latest action causing 19,779 inpatient and outpatient appointments to be rescheduled in the North West.
Craig Harris, chief of strategy, commissioning and integration at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which organises health services for the region, said: “The NHS and unions are working closely together to ensure patient safety is prioritised during this action and have committed to ensure that emergency services remain in place with staffing levels in line with that in place on Christmas Day.
“Unions have signalled an early intention to strike so that trusts can plan their patient lists to ensure those patients with urgent, time sensitive conditions, such as patients with cancer, can be managed on alternative days and not have their treatment pathways disrupted where possible.
“As this will be an extremely difficult period of time for the NHS, we’re encouraging the public to use NHS services appropriately and to please use NHS 111 Online for all non-emergency healthcare needs.
“Those patients who need urgent medical care please continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.”
Local NHS services will be using their websites and social media channels to provide up-to-date information to the public about local service disruption – so please check before you travel.
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.
How to get an emergency dental appointment.