Warning of disruption to health services in Bedfordshire as doctors strike again

Call to ‘please use NHS services wisely’
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Senior doctors in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes have again warned of potential disruption to health services next week, as further industrial action by junior doctors is due to begin.

NHS leaders in the region have again urged patients to choose services wisely to help protect care for the most vulnerable.

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Junior doctors will undertake an all-out strike from 7am on Saturday, February 24 until 11.59pm on Wednesday, February 28.

People are being advised to use NHS services wisely amid further strike actionPeople are being advised to use NHS services wisely amid further strike action
People are being advised to use NHS services wisely amid further strike action

Hospitals will run differently during this time, with resources prioritised in order to provide urgent and emergency services, maternity services and ward-based care. This means that hospitals may have to make the difficult decision to re-arrange many non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Where this is the case, patients will be contacted directly.

NHS leaders are urging people to choose health and care services wisely and to take simple steps to ensure care is available to patients who need it most. This includes using 111 Online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to attend Emergency Departments only if it is a life-threatening emergency.

Many GP practices and pharmacies will be running as usual during the strike, but some local practices may be affected by the industrial action as they provide opportunities for those who are training to become GPs.

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Dr Sarah Whiteman, chief medical director for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said: “We are encouraging local people to think carefully before using NHS services during the forthcoming strikes. Please help us to focus our attention on those who most need it.

“You should only attend an accident and emergency department if you require emergency, life-saving care. Anybody needing non-urgent care should contact 111 Online in the first instance at 111.nhs.uk, or seek advice from a local pharmacist who is very well placed to offer help.

“Previous strikes in the NHS this year have seen many hospital appointments postponed, and we again expect to see significant disruption.

“As we are still seeing a lot of winter illnesses, we expect many services to be even busier than they were during the previous strikes, and there are likely to be longer waiting times, particularly at our hospitals’ Emergency Departments.”