Junior doctors in England are expected to take industrial action over the festive period.

December 19, 2023

The NHS will prioritise patient safety during the periods of strike action, with health and care partners working together to ensure that critical services will continue to be available.

However, the impact is likely to be very challenging for local services, with Christmas and New Year a usual time of high-pressure across health and care.

  • The first strike action will take place over three days, from 7am on Wednesday, 20 December to 7am on Saturday, 23 December.
  • The second action will take place over six days, from 7am on Wednesday, 3 January until 7am on Tuesday, 9 January.

People can support the NHS during the strike days by using the right health service to meet your needs, and help to ensure emergency care is available for those in most need by taking the following actions:

  • Choose the most appropriate NHS service for your needs and only use 999 and A&E or Emergency Departments for serious or life-threatening emergencies.
  • Make sure you have ordered your repeat prescriptions in advance, by using the NHS app, or via your GP. Please plan for the bank holidays and make sure you have enough of your medication.
  • Use NHS 111 first either online or by phone for anything that isn’t a life-saving emergency.
  • Know it may take longer than expected to be seen and treated for those patients who attend emergency departments, but do not have time-critical or life-threatening conditions. Please continue to be kind and patient to hard-working and busy staff.
  • Collect family and friends from hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged.
  • Stay away from hospitals if showing the symptoms of flu or COVID-19 (or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive) unless it is an emergency.

Planned appointments and clinics are likely to be affected, however people should continue to attend their appointments unless they are contacted directly by the NHS.

You do not need to contact your NHS service or team in advance, the team will contact patients directly if an appointment needs to be rescheduled.

For more information and advice please visit the NHS Sussex website here.

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