Suffolk NHS prepares for 48-hour doctors’ strike

Junior doctors at West Suffolk Hospital picketing during an earlier strike

Junior doctors at West Suffolk Hospital picketing during an earlier strike

Hospitals and GP surgeries across Suffolk are preparing for the impact of industrial action by junior doctors this week.

People are being asked to try to use pharmacies or call NHS 111 instead of visiting hospitals during the strike from 8am on Wednesday April 6 to 8am on Friday April 8.

Family doctors and nurses are expecting to be busy during this time, so consider if your condition is urgent.

The NHS has prepared an outline of what can be expected

It says patients in need of urgent and emergency care will still be able to access the care they need because the Emergency Departments (A&E) at West Suffolk and Ipswich hospitals will be open

Patients with less urgent needs who arrive at the Emergency Department may experience delays because priority will be given to those with the most pressing health needs

Some hospital appointments and procedures will be cancelled and those patients will be contacted by the hospital as soon as possible. The NHS says if patients are not contacted they should attend as originally planned.

The NHS says people should make sure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with basic supplies to treat minor injury and illness at home.

If you are feeling unwell, don’t wait – speak to your pharmacist or call NHS 111.

But GPs will also be busy, so consider if you can wait and book an appointment on another day.

An NHS spokesman said: “Local pharmacies are a great source of help and advice and can offer over-the-counter medicine to treat your condition.”

He added: “People should call 999 only in an emergency. If the situation is not an emergency call NHS 111 – the service is open 24 hours a day and you will speak to a Suffolk-based advisor who will advise on the best course of action.”