People in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to use health and care services wisely ahead of planned industrial action and the August Bank Holiday to help ensure that care is available to patients who need it most.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that senior doctors and hospital consultants will be striking for a further 48 hours, from 7am on Thursday 24 August until 7am on Saturday 26 August.
These strikes will impact both routine and emergency care.
It is really important people do not delay seeking help from the NHS if they feel unwell. However, with local health services experiencing high demand, people are being urged to only attend an Emergency Department if it’s absolutely necessary.
The best way to get the medical help you need is to think NHS 111 first. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111 for anything that feels urgent, or if you are unsure what to do. They can direct you to the most appropriate place. In life-threatening emergencies dial 999.
Other 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.
- When needing urgent medical care but it’s not an emergency, visit NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 for advice on how to get care at any time of day or night. If you need urgent mental health help, call 111 and choose the mental health option.
- Support your loved ones to be discharged when they are well enough. No-one wants to stay in hospital longer than they need to so if you are a family member or friend and feel you can help, please speak with the nurse in charge.
- Check your prescription medicines now. Make sure you and your loved ones have enough supply of any prescribed medicines to last you over this period. If your medication will run out over the bank holiday, consider whether you need to place an order now.
- Visit your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies are open over bank holidays and can offer expert advice on common conditions such as colds, sore throats and rashes, or attend a minor injuries unit (Cromer) or walk in centre (Norwich).
- Remember self-care. Many common ailments can be treated at home with a well-stocked first aid kit. Heartburn and hangovers for example can be treated at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
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. But, please think twice and think 111 first for other issues.