Hospitals and GP surgeries across east and west Suffolk are preparing for the impact of industrial action by junior doctors from tomorrow.
People are being asked to try to use pharmacies or call NHS 111 instead of visiting hospitals and, with family doctors and nurses expecting to be busy during this time, are asked to consider if their condition is urgent and, if possible, book an appointment on another day.
The NHS has prepared this outline of what can be expected:
* Patients in need of urgent and emergency care will still be able to access the care they need. The Emergency Departments (A&E) at Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals will be open.
* Patients with less urgent need who arrive at the Emergency Department may experience delays. Priority will be given to those with the most pressing health needs.
* Some hospital appointments and procedures will be cancelled. Those patients affected will be contacted direct by the hospital as soon as possible. If patients are not contacted they should attend as originally planned.
* Local people can help their NHS and make sure that those with urgent care needs are treated quickly.
Members of the public are being urged to make sure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with basic supplies which will enable them to treat minor injury and illness at home.
Meanwhile, anyone feeling unwell is asked not to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to take action – speak to a pharmacist or call NHS 111. Local pharmacies are a great source of help and advice and can offer over-the-counter medicine to treat some conditions.
People should call 999 only in an emergency. If the situation is not an emergency, call NHS 111 – the service is open 24 hours a day and will be answered by a Suffolk-based advisor who will inform of the best course of action.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced industrial action from 8am tomorrow (March 9) to 8am on Friday (March 11), when only emergency cover will be provided.