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

Information has been shared from the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System (ICS) about the upcoming Junior doctor and consultant strikes.

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.

The ICS are working together with healthcare partners to ensure there are robust plans in place to maintain the safety and welfare of patients and 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.

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

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 staff making these calls, and please know that they will be working hard to reschedule these as quickly as possible.

People are urged 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.