People across Lancashire and South Cumbria are being reminded that consultants are set to strike this week in the run-up to the bank holiday weekend.
Unions announced that consultant doctors in England will once again be taking industrial action over 48 hours, from 7am on Thursday 24 August until 7am on Saturday 26 August, as their ongoing pay dispute with the government continues.
The strike will once again be based on Christmas Day levels of cover, meaning emergency care will still be provided.
Increased demand on health services is usually anticipated during the Summer Bank Holiday weekend, with hundreds of thousands of extra visitors expected in the region during one of the busiest weekends of the year for tourism.
Members of the public are asked to be mindful of the strikes when considering which health services they need to use during the period of strike action.
Patients are reminded that the NHS will be in contact if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned. This includes your GP and dentist appointments.
Maggie Oldham, deputy chief executive for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, which organises healthcare services in the region, said: “We are extremely grateful for the public’s support during this lengthy period of industrial action and we thank them for continuing to use NHS services appropriately during these times of pressure.
“There is likely to be significant impact upon local services once again across the two days of strike action and the three-day bank holiday weekend, with the increased number of people expected to be visiting our tourism hotspots.
“Services may feel different for patients, with longer waits or deferred treatment as the NHS prioritises resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma, and patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.
“It is extremely important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.”
There is also increased demand on pharmacies ahead of a bank holiday weekend, with only a small number of pharmacies across the region opening on bank holiday Monday (28 August) to provide expert advice and deal with minor ailments and illnesses. Details of which pharmacies will be open on the bank holiday are available at www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/your-local-services/pharmacy
People are urged to get repeat prescription orders in early to give their GP practice and pharmacy plenty of notice to have their prescriptions ready to collect.
Anyone with a health complaint who is unsure what to do should visit www.111.nhs.uk for immediate advice. In a life-threatening situation, people should always call 999.