Unions have announced a five-day, 120-hour walkout of junior doctors from 7 am on Thursday, 13 July, until 7 am on Tuesday, 18 July. This action will be quickly followed by a 48-hour strike by hospital consultants from 7 am on Thursday, 20 July, to 7 am on Saturday, 22 July.
The 111 online service offers patients quick advice and the best options for getting the care they need, including getting a call back from a trained clinician or nurse, booking an appointment in A&E, or providing advice on how to help them recover.
The industrial action does not directly affect the ambulance service, and NWAS staff will not be striking. However, this could lead to increased demand on the 111-telephony service and longer wait times.
In cases of a life or limb-threatening emergency, the public should still ring 999. Urgent and emergency care services will be open; GPs and pharmacists will still be available to provide non-urgent health advice, and the symptom checker at NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) will be available if patients are unsure where to go.
Head of the 111 service Sally Rose says, “As a result of the impact of the junior doctors’ strikes on the wider NHS, we anticipate that this might increase demand on the service and could lead to longer wait times, especially as it is taking place over the weekend which, is usually our busiest time of the week.
“We would always encourage people to first think about using the online service: it works the same as over the phone but is generally quicker.”
Almost half of all hospital doctors in the country are junior doctors – you will see junior doctors working in almost every part of a busy hospital.
The NHS will continue to deliver planned care where possible, especially for patients in greatest clinical need, and we would urge the public to attend any planned appointments unless contacted directly by the NHS to reschedule.
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.
Remember, NHS 111 Online can tell you:
- Where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
- 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