Monday 13 March (7am) to Thursday 16 March (7am) – British Medical Association (Junior Doctors)

NHS leaders are urging local people ahead of next week’s industrial action by Junior Doctors to only access A&E in Gloucester or call 999 if their condition is life threatening or very serious.

Cheltenham General Hospital’s Emergency Department will become a nurse led Minor Injury and Illness Unit for the duration of the strike enabling available emergency care staff to come together at Gloucester to keep services safe.

To support preparation, this change will come into effect from Sunday 12 March (8pm) until Thursday 16 March (8am). It will operate as an MIIU 24 hours a day throughout this period.

Patients can also expect cancellations to planned outpatient appointments, procedures and operations.

Whilst the NHS locally is making plans to keep essential services available, leaders have warned that the strike will pose substantial challenges. The highest priority will be to care for those in most immediate and urgent need and safeguard patient care.

Patients who have a planned hospital operation, outpatient clinic or procedure between Monday (13th) and Thursday (16th) should attend as usual unless they hear from their NHS Trust to advise otherwise. However, given the need to ensure safe staffing arrangements in emergency care and other critical services many appointments will need to be rearranged.

There will be no disruption to patient visiting arrangements on these days. However, the local NHS Trusts are asking relatives and carers to do everything they can to work with their staff to get their loved ones home from hospital as quickly and as safely as possible, with additional support, if necessary, from local NHS community services or adult social care teams.

Chief Medical Officer at NHS Gloucestershire, Dr Andy Seymour said:

“The 72-hour strike will bring substantial challenges to the local NHS, particularly hospital services, and we are sorry that many patients will experience disruption to services.

One Gloucestershire health and care partners are working closely together to ensure those in greatest need continue to have access to high quality care and support between Monday and Thursday.

We cannot emphasise enough how important it will be to keep A&E in Gloucester clear for life threatening conditions and serious injuries.

The public can help by thinking carefully about their healthcare options and getting advice when needed from NHS 111. Advice will also be available through local NHS social media channels.”

Additional Information

Many parts of the NHS – hospitals, community services and GP practices – are likely to feel the impact of the industrial action – either directly or indirectly – so local people are being urged to use services responsibly.

If people have an urgent care need, but are not sure which service to use, they are asked to visit in the first instance or call 111 for advice. The 111 phone service can book people into local NHS services if required, but is likely to see an increase in calls.

111 online and the local ASAP Glos NHS website and App can provide information on the services provided by community pharmacies, GP surgeries, including the Gloucester Health Access Centre, Community Minor Injury and Illness Units and A&E.

A number of Community Hospital Minor Injury and Illness Units across the county will be open on the days – 8am to 8pm and Cheltenham MIIU will be open 24 hours a day throughout the period of industrial action. People are likely to be seen more quickly on arrival if they book an appointment by calling the local MIIU line: 0300 421 7777 or 111.

People can get the latest on the day service updates and advice on the industrial action through local NHS social media channels and websites.

Further public information about the industrial action, including FAQs, has been published by NHS England and can be found here.