19 September 2023

People urged to support the NHS over the coming weeks

Junior doctors and consultants in England are taking joint strike action for the first time in the coming weeks, with NHS leaders warning the impact will be very challenging for local services.

The British Medical Association has confirmed there are nine days of industrial action planned for the coming weeks as part of a national dispute between the Government and doctors’ Trades Unions about terms and conditions:

  • Consultants will be taking industrial action on 19 and 20 September.
  • Junior doctors will also be on strike on 20, 21 and 22 September.
  • Both consultants and junior doctors will strike together on 2, 3 and 4 October.

The NHS in Sussex is grateful to people for their support during the several periods of industrial action seen so far this year and is calling on the public to give support again to ensure local communities, patients, families and carers are provided with high quality NHS care.

People are being urged to continue to support the NHS during the strike days by using the right health service to meet their needs and help to ensure emergency care is available for those in most need by taking the following actions:

  • Choose the most appropriate NHS service for your needs and only use 999 and emergency departments for serious or life-threatening emergencies.
  • Use an alternative NHS service and to use NHS 111 first either online or by phone for anything that isn’t a life-saving emergency.
  • Know it may take longer than expected to be seen and treated for those patients who attend emergency departments, but do not have time-critical or life-threatening conditions.
  • Collect family and friends from hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged.
  • Stay away from hospitals if showing the symptoms of flu or COVID-19 (or if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive), unless it is an emergency.

The NHS will prioritise patient safety during the periods of industrial action, with health and care partners working together to ensure that critical services will continue to be available.

Planned appointments and clinics will be affected, however people should still continue to attend their appointments unless they are contacted directly by the NHS.

Patients do not need to contact their NHS service or team in advance, the team will contact patients directly if an appointment needs to be rescheduled.

Dr Dinesh Sinha, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Sussex, said: “The NHS in Sussex is grateful to people for their support during the recent periods of industrial action, and these latest strikes will again have a difficult impact, with almost all routine care being affected and many planned care appointments needing to be rescheduled.

“All health and care partners are working together and we are planning as much as we can, but we are concerned about Wednesday in particular when both junior doctors and consultants will be taking action.

“We are working closely with partners to ensure we prioritise urgent and emergency care for patients, but we do need the public to continue to support us and use the right health service to meet their needs.

“Pharmacies, walk-in centres, minor injury units and urgent treatment centres will continue to be available during the industrial action and can help people with a range of injuries and illnesses.”