Surrey’s NHS warns of significant disruption ahead of the first ever joint consultant and junior doctors strike
Tuesday (19th September) sees the start of a further four days of planned industrial and, for the first time ever, consultants and junior doctors will be striking on the same day, which is expected to lead to significant disruption for local health services, resulting in hundreds of planned procedures and appointments across Surrey being rescheduled.
On Tuesday and Wednesday (19th and 20th September) consultants who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) will strike for 48 hours.
From Wednesday junior doctors who are part of the BMA will also stage a 72 hour strike, alongside junior doctors who are part of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) – leading to the first ever double strike action involving both consultants and junior doctors on Wednesday 20th September.
With consultants set to only provide ‘Christmas Day cover’, meaning they will only provide an ‘emergency care’ level of service, and with both strikes taking place together, significant disruption is expected across local health services, with many non-urgent procedures and outpatient appointments being rescheduled as a result.
Dr Charlotte Canniff, Joint Chief Medical Officer at Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership explains:
With consultants and junior doctors set to strike together for the first time, we expect to see a significant impact on local health services due to reduced staffing levels, where frontline teams will need to prioritise critical and life-saving care.
As a health and care system we fully support all our workforce – whether they choose to take part in planned industrial action or not - and, as a system, we will continue to work together to minimise any disruption. Unfortunately, some appointments and procedures will need to be rescheduled and waiting times are likely to be longer than usual as our frontline teams make sure people who are critically ill get the care they need as quickly as possible.
Dr David Fluck, Medical Director at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust added:
Hospitals and local services are already busy and, as we move into this next round of industrial action, with consultant and junior doctors striking together, our focus will be on providing critical and life-saving care to those who need it. As we prepare for what we expect to be a challenging week ahead, we are urging people to play their part by using
services responsibly. This means only going to A&E if it is a medical emergency or life-threatening situation and using 111 online or calling 111 if it’s urgent, but not an emergency situation, so we can get people the help they need.
Ahead of industrial action starting on Tuesday, the local NHS is urging residents to continue to use services responsibly and appropriately:
- If it’s not a medical emergency people should use NHS 111 online for urgent health advice and they will be linked in with the service they need - or call 111 if people do not have access to the internet. Pharmacies can also help with minor health issues.
- People should only use 999 and A&E for serious or life-threatening conditions or medical emergencies (when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk). If it’s not an emergency, people should contact NHS 111 and use local Minor Injury Units, Urgent Treatment and walk-in centres.
- If people’s appointments or procedures have been affected by industrial action the local NHS will contact people directly to reschedule them as soon as possible. If people haven’t been contacted, they should attend as planned.