Essential patient care to continue during strike action - but urgent care services are very busy

Published: 13 March 2023

Hospitals are very busy
The NHS is under a lot of pressure. Hospitals are very busy.

Local NHS services are working to maintain essential patient care during the junior doctors’ strike. We are asking patients to 'help us help you by using services wisely.'

Urgent and emergency help is there for people who need it, although emergency departments, urgent care centres and minor injury units are currently very busy.

Anyone who does not have a life or limb-threatening emergency is urged to use alternative services, such as NHS 111 online, local pharmacies or the NHS 111 telephone service.

Anyone who has a planned hospital or clinic appointment should attend, unless they have been contacted and told that their appointment is being rescheduled.

Junior doctors working in hospitals and in general practice are striking on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the 13, 14 and 15 March. This will have an impact on hospitals, but urgent and emergency services, critical care, maternity and neonatal units will continue to run. Cancer surgery and planned operations for patients who have very pressing clinical needs will be prioritised.  GP practices, urgent care services and community pharmacies will be open.

Patients are being urged to use NHS services wisely during the strike period. Anyone needing urgent help should use NHS 111 online.  People should dial 999 in a life or limb-threatening emergency, as usual. Community pharmacies remain open as normal and can help patients with a range of minor injuries or illnesses.

GP practices will be open but those teaching practices that employ junior doctors as part of their training may be short staffed and this will impact on the availability of appointments. When patients contact practices, reception teams will continue to arrange for people to be supported by an appropriate member of staff who can meet their needs, including practice nurses or physiotherapists. They may book patients into appointments at community pharmacies for some minor illnesses. 

For more advice about accessing hospital services during the current industrial action check on the relevant websites. 

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust 

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust