Warning as Christmas NHS disruption expected due to junior doctors strike
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People have been told to expect NHS disruption as junior doctors stage a 72-hour strike in the build-up to the festive period.
Junior doctors walked out at 7am on Wednesday and will stay on strike until 7am on Saturday, December 23. The industrial action will then be followed up with six days of further strike action in the new year, from 7am Wednesday, January 3 to 7am Tuesday, January 9.
The strikes will put increased pressure on already stretched NHS services as junior doctors already make up 50% of the medical workforce in the country. Senior clinicians, including consultants and specialist doctors will step in to cover for the striking junior doctors.
The NHS has said it will prioritise urgent and emergency care during the periods of strike action, and has asked people to carefully think about using their services over the period.
Those with non-emergency healthcare needs are urged to use the 111 service.
Dr Jim Gardner, Chief Medical Officer at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our Emergency Departments are currently very busy and we’re asking for your help in thinking carefully before you decide to attend.
"If you are seriously ill or it’s an emergency, please do still use our services. However, if your condition is less serious, please consider using NHS 111 who can direct you to the most appropriate place of care.
“If you do come to one of our Emergency Departments and your condition is not considered to be serious or life threatening, you may face a long wait to be seen whilst our teams prioritise caring for those who need our help the most."
The NHS said that anyone with an appointment booked during the period of strike action should still attend, unless contacted directly by the NHS to reschedule.