Important information for Norfolk and Waveney residents during consultant and junior doctor strikes across September and October

12th September 2023

Norfolk and Waveney residents are urged not to delay seeking help from the NHS if they feel unwell, as the British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that junior doctors and consultants will undertake four days of joint industrial action in September and October.

Senior consultants will take part in strike action from 7am on 19th and 20th September and 2nd, 3rd and 4th October.

Junior doctors will also be taking strike action from 7am on 20th, 21st, 22nd September, and 2nd, 3rd, 4th October.

We are working together with our healthcare partners to ensure we have robust plans in place to maintain the safety and welfare of our patients and our colleagues during the upcoming strike action. 

Residents are reminded that the best way to get urgent medical help is to visit or call 111 for anything that feels urgent, or if you are unsure what to do.

The 111 team can often help there and then on the phone, but for more serious issues, they can also direct you to the most appropriate place, including arranging a home visit or booking in a timed appointment at an emergency department.

But, if it’s a life-threatening emergency, please do call 999 or come straight to your local emergency department.

Things which everyone can do to help the NHS right now, include:

  • Only call 999 or attend accident and emergency departments for serious accidents and for genuine emergencies, like chest pain, breathing difficulties, signs of a stroke or bleeding that won’t stop.
  • If you need urgent mental health help, call 111 and choose the mental health option.
  • For non-urgent cases when needing medical advice and it’s not an emergency, speak to your GP practice or a pharmacist, or attend a minor injuries unit (Cromer) or walk in centre (Norwich).
  • If you have a medical appointment and are not contacted directly, you should continue to attend your appointment. If unable to make any NHS appointment, please contact the number on appointment letters so that it can be reallocated to another patient.

Our focus as a health and care system will be on maintaining emergency and life-preserving care during industrial action, and we will continue to see and treat patients with the greatest clinical need before those with less severe issues.

All of our hospitals will also significantly reduce the number of planned or elective services (routine operations, procedures and outpatient appointments) during this time, to allow remaining staff to focus on providing emergency and inpatient care.

We understand how frustrating this can be for patients and we are sorry that many people will have appointments rearranged.

If you have a medical appointment and are not contacted directly, please continue to attend your appointment as usual. If you are unable to make any NHS appointment, please remember to cancel any booked transport, and please contact the number on appointment letters so that it can be reallocated to another patient.

But, if you are contacted by the hospital to cancel your appointment, we urge people to be kind and respectful towards our staff making these calls, and please know that they will be working hard to reschedule these as quickly as possible.

We urge anyone to come forward if they have a true emergency as normal, and to still attend routine appointments unless they have been specifically told not to come, as we are committed to keeping disruption in these services to a minimum.