Ahead of the strike period taken by junior doctors on Wednesday (20 December) for 72 hours and again in January (3 – 9) for a week, we are preparing for the most challenging period of industrial action yet.
With winter pressures, Christmas bank holidays and industrial action taking place, our hospitals will be extremely busy, and the NHS is working hard across Sussex to minimise potential impact on patients and to keep as many services running as normally as possible.
Our priority is maintaining the safety of our hospitals. This means that in some circumstances during these periods of industrial action, we will be contacting some patients with planned appointments to make new arrangements where it is absolutely necessary.
This is not something we take lightly, and we are only standing down planned care activity where this is essential to support our response to industrial action pressures.
If you have not been contacted directly it is important to attend your appointment(s) as planned. You do not need to phone ahead to confirm your appointment.
How you can help
The support from the public during previous periods of industrial action has been vital and has enabled local services to care for those most in need.
We would like to remind you that A&E is for life-threatening emergencies and to provide urgent help for people who may have become seriously ill.
If you do not need life-saving care, you may be waiting longer to be seen or you may be redirected to a more suitable service.
Emergency ambulance services, GP practices, community pharmacies and dentistry are not included in the planned junior doctors strikes. The public should continue to access these services as required.
However, it is likely that all health services will be even busier than usual during strike days. Details about which services are available and how you can access them is on the NHS Sussex website.
Health and care partners are asking the public again to Help Us Help You this winter and play their part by:
- Know the services available to you and using the right one for your needs at the right time, including local Minor Injury Units and Urgent Treatment Centres.
- To take responsibility for your own health and wellness, by staying as healthy as possible, looking after yourself and asking for support when you need it.
- Look out for your neighbours, relatives and friends to help them stay healthy and seek help if they become ill.
- Get your Covid-19 and flu vaccinations if you are eligible as soon as possible.
- Be respectful to health and care staff and remember they are trying to help you and others as quickly as they can.
You can find out from NHS Sussex, the additional measures that have been put in place to help manage this increase in demand and how the public can help.