​​​​​​​Industrial action update - October 2023 | News and events

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​​​​​​​Industrial action update - October 2023

There will be co-ordinated joint strike action by both consultants and junior doctors on 2, 3 and 4 October.

There will be significantly fewer doctors than usual and there will be disruption to the provision of our services as a result.

Although we are working as hard as we can to minimise this as far as possible, some appointments, procedures and operations will be affected. We will be adjusting our services and the way we staff them to ensure quality of care.

Please only come to the emergency department (ED) if you have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury. Otherwise, please call 111 for advice about which service is best for your needs. This may include your GP, pharmacy (including Harlow Pharmacy, adjacent to the hospital) or Urgent Treatment Centre – you can read more here >

You can continue to access care from maternity services, and critical services for our inpatients.

Those in less urgent need of care can expect to experience longer waiting times than normal.

You will be contacted if your appointment needs to be changed. Please continue to come forward for the care you need, unless you have been told that your appointment has been cancelled.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

IA dates

Your questions answered

What if I have an appointment on a strike day?

Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned, unless we have contacted you to reschedule. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment.

If you have been told that your appointment has been cancelled, please do not attend the hospital – our clinical teams will not be able to see you.

I have a loved one who will be a hospital inpatient on strike day – how will their care be affected?

All hospital inpatients will be informed of how their care will be impacted on a ward-by-ward basis by the team involved in delivering their care.

When will I find out if my appointment is rescheduled?

We will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. This is likely to be a text, phone call or a letter and you should be offered an alternative date for your appointment. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.

If you receive a cancellation message followed by a reminder text for your appointment, please ignore the reminder text.

If my appointment is rescheduled, will I be put back to the bottom of the waiting list?

Any appointments that need to be rescheduled will be done as a priority.

Is there anything I should do now?

No, we will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. Please try not to call the booking line, as we anticipate a high call volume.

Should I cancel my appointment on the day of strikes?

No, if we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned. For more information, you can visit the BMA website http://www.bma.org.uk.

What are the details for Harlow Pharmacy?

Harlow Pharmacy is located at:

Unit 2, Wych Elm

Hamstel Road



CM20 1QR

Contact number: 01279 626786

The opening times and further details can be accessed here >

Top tips for Hertfordshire and west Essex residents

  • If you need urgent health help, use NHS 111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) or call 111. Your symptoms will be assessed, and you will be provided with healthcare advice or an appointment to see a doctor or nurse if this is needed. NHS 111 can also send an ambulance and can book an appointment for you in some services like urgent treatment centres
  • If you are in a mental health crisis, call NHS 111 and get straight through to mental health help by selecting option 2
  • GP surgeries are less directly affected by junior doctor industrial action. However, we expect them to be busier than usual as a result – so only call if it is really essential and consider filling out an online consultation on your practice website if you can wait
  • Feeling a bit under the weather? The NHS website has lots of advice to help you to look after yourself when you have minor symptoms. There is also information about what is a serious medical emergency: When to call 999 - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • Pick up a few medicines while you’re shopping so that you can look after very minor illnesses or injuries yourself. You can buy basic essentials like paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, antiseptic cream, allergy medicine and indigestion remedies from pharmacies and supermarkets for less than the cost of a prescription. Remember, cheaper non-branded versions of medicines work just as well as branded products
  • Pharmacies are experts in medicines and treatment for minor conditions. You can find a list of pharmacies open out of hours by visiting www.nhs.uk and using the ‘Find a Pharmacy’ tool
  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments only have the capacity to treat people who have serious or life-threatening conditions. If you use emergency services with a minor issue you are risking the lives of others and may not get the treatment for your symptoms as quickly as you will elsewhere
  • Do not visit anyone in a hospital or care home if you have recently had diarrhoea or vomiting. Stomach bugs are easily spread, make already ill people very seriously unwell, and can lead to whole hospital wards being closed. Please wait 48 hours after your last bout of sickness or diarrhoea before visiting anyone who is vulnerable

Information on these services and self-help advice can be found at: https://hertsandwestessexics.org.uk/help-us-help  

Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.

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