NHS advice for Norfolk and Waveney residents who seek help during junior doctor industrial action this February

19th February 2024

Norfolk and Waveney residents are reminded on how to seek help from the NHS if they feel unwell this February, as the British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have announced that junior doctors will undertake five days of industrial action.

Junior doctors will take industrial action from 7am on February 24 until 11.59pm on February 28, with HCSA members continuing until 7am on February 29.

Residents are reminded that the best way to get urgent medical help is to visit 111.nhs.uk 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.

If it is, however, a serious or life-threatening emergency, please do call 999 or go straight to your local emergency department.

NHS organisations are working hard to ensure robust staffing levels for urgent care pathways, urgent elective cases, and other critical services. However, the disruption to staffing will cause a significant reduction in elective activity and this may mean some appointments and procedures may need to be rescheduled.

We will be working closely to maintain the safety and welfare of our patients and our colleagues during the upcoming strike action and ensure safe staffing for emergency care continues to be available.

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.
  • Supporting people to look after their mental health. 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.
  • Receiving your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they’re offered.
  • Keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet to be prepared for common winter illnesses.

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.

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.

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.

GP practices will continue to be open during the junior doctor’s strike. Please continue to attend your GP and dental appointments, unless you are contacted otherwise.

For further information about where to go and helpful advice, click here.