Public warned to expect significant disruption ahead of first ever joint strike action by junior doctors and consultants

Dr Fiona Lemmens
Dr Fiona Lemmens

Health leaders are urging members of the public to use NHS 111 Online for all non-emergency healthcare needs as the NHS enters its tenth month of strike action this September.

For the first time, this action will also see junior doctors and hospital consultants striking at the same time.  

The industrial action will see 96 hours of continuous strikes, starting with consultants striking from 07:00 on Tuesday, 19 September to 07:00 on Thursday, 21 September and junior doctors striking from 07:00 on Wednesday 20 September to 07:00 on Saturday 23 September. This means both groups will strike together on Wednesday, 20 September.

NHS Trusts across Cheshire and Merseyside are expected to be severely impacted by these strikes, and the public are being advised that significant service disruption is highly likely.

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 public are being urged to use NHS 111 Online for non-emergency healthcare needs. The online service works the same as over the phone and is already popular with people who want quick advice about the best options for getting the care they need. These can include a call back from a trained clinician or nurse, an appointment in A&E or important advice.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, Deputy Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said:

“We are now entering the tenth month of industrial action across the NHS and staff continue to work hard to provide patients with the best possible care under the circumstances.

“The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to mitigate risks to patient safety and manage the disruption caused by industrial action, but these strikes will lead to significant service disruption, especially with the consultants and junior doctors striking together on Wednesday.

“Urgent and emergency care services will still be open for those who need them, and in the event of a life or limb-threatening emergency you should always call 999. If however, 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 deliver planned care where possible, especially for patients in greatest clinical need, and is urging 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.

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

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