Choose the right NHS service for you and your family
If you need medical help during planned strike action, please use NHS services wisely to make sure care is available to those who need it most.
Strike action is taking place from 7am on the 20th December to 7am on the 23rd December 2023 and from 7am on the 3rd January to 7am on the 9th January 2024. This will mean that NHS services will be busier than normal, and some appointments may be cancelled. Please attend your booked appointments unless you are told otherwise.
Make sure you have enough of any medication you need as pharmacies may have different opening hours or be closed. Your local pharmacist can advise on common conditions and you can find your nearest at https://www.nhs.uk/
If you have a health concern that is not life-threatening, support is available at NHS111 online or by phoning NHS 111. If it is a life-threatening emergency such as serious illness or injury, you should still call 999.
What is happening?
Trade unions representing NHS staff are in dispute with the Government over the 2022/23 pay award. Several of the unions have balloted their NHS members to take part in industrial action and confirmed dates are available from NHS Employers. The NHS wants to see a resolution as soon as possible, but pay is a matter for the Government and the trade unions.
What is a junior doctor?
Junior doctors are qualified doctors in clinical training. They have completed a medical degree and foundation training and, across their entire career, can have up to eight years’ of working experience as a hospital doctor, depending on their specialty, or up to three years of working experience in general practice.
All junior doctors work under the supervisor of a senior doctor.
Will GP services be affected on strike days?
When strike action is taking place patients should continue to attend GP appointments, unless they are contacted and told otherwise.
What do strikes mean for NHS services in my area?
You can check which services are affected in your area on the NHS England website. Patients should be aware that where strike action has taken place, it may take slightly longer for services to return to normal.
During strike action the NHS will prioritise resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma, and ensure we prioritise patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.
We will only cancel appointments and procedures where it is necessary. Any appointments that need to be rescheduled, will be done so as soon as possible.
Your local pharmacist can give you friendly, expert advice about over-the-counter medicines for common conditions, such as diarrhoea, a runny nose, or a painful cough or a headache, without the need for an appointment.
As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists provide a range of services, including emergency contraception and incontinence supplies. Find your nearest pharmacy at NHS.uk.
What if I have an appointment on a strike day?
Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned unless your local NHS provider has contacted you to reschedule. If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment even if your hospital is affected by strikes.
Should I cancel my appointment on the day of strikes?
No, if you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.
When will I find out if my appointment is rescheduled?
The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. This is likely to be a letter or phone call, and you should be offered an alternative date for your appointment. If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.
Is there anything I should do now?
No, the NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
Urgent and emergency care
What if I need urgent or emergency care?
Anyone who needs urgent care should use NHS111 online or call NHS 111 to be assessed and directed to the right care for them. When someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should seek emergency care in the normal way, by calling 999 or attending A&E.
Will emergency care be affected on strike days?
Emergency care will continue to be available across all parts of the country. It is really important that in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or their life is at risk – patients continue to come forward as normal.
What should I do if I need an ambulance?
On strike days, patients should only call 999 if seriously ill or injured, and there is a risk to life. Ambulances will be dispatched where clinically appropriate.
For all other healthcare needs support will be available through NHS111 online, via the NHS 111 helpline or at your local GP or pharmacy.
What is considered an emergency?
Patients should only call 999 if seriously ill or injured, or there is risk to life. Ambulances will be dispatched where clinically appropriate.