Advice for Patients as NHS in Suffolk prepare for junior doctors strike

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Hospitals and GP surgeries across east and west Suffolk are preparing for the impact of industrial action by junior doctors next week.

The strike takes place between 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 26 April and 8am-5pm on Wednesday 27 April.

People are being asked to try to use pharmacies or call NHS 111 instead of visiting hospitals. Family doctors and nurses are expecting to be busy during this time, so please consider if your condition is urgent.

The NHS has prepared this useful 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. This period of industrial action includes withdrawal of junior doctor cover in A&E. Essential care services will instead be provided by senior staff

* 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.

* Make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with basic supplies which will enable you to treat minor injury and illness at home

* If you are feeling unwell, don’t wait – speak to your pharmacist or call NHS 111

* GPs will also be busy, so please consider if you can wait and book an appointment on another day

* Local pharmacies are a great source of help and advice and can offer over-the-counter medicine to treat your condition

* 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 you will speak to a Suffolk-based advisor who will advise on the best course of action