As you will be aware, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has declared war on Junior Doctors and industrial action now seems inevitable. Your local Liberal Democrats support the doctors in their battle to secure a fair deal but also recognise that some residents will have concerns about how the strike action will affect them.
Thanks to local GP Dr Nick Moore, we are able to offer you the following advice.
We understand people may be worried about their care during the days of industrial action. It is possible the government will try to frighten people about this in order to gain the upper hand in the dispute. However, the British Medical Association have given more notice than required by law to make sure that hospitals have time to prepare. Non-essential work may be cancelled but emergency cover, similar to that provided on a Bank Holiday, will be running, provided by consultants and other senior doctors. GP practices and walk-in centres in the city will be open as usual.
At the moment the industrial action is planned for the following days: 1st, 8th and 16th December.
- If you have a hospital appointment on one of these days, it is worth checking if this is likely to be affected by ringing the department (your GP will not have this information).
- If you are on any repeat medication, ensure you have supplies of this or order a repeat prescription from your GP to reduce the risk of becoming unwell.
- If you are eligible for a flu jab, make sure you have one. GP practices and pharmacies still have plenty in stock.
- Keep an eye on the local media, Portsmouth CCG's website or NHS Choices for up to date information.
- If you do become unwell and feel that you need urgent medical care, you can call your GP practice, the 111 advice line or in an emergency 999. All these services will be available as usual and hospital emergency departments will be open. Don't delay seeking help if you feel you need it.
We are grateful to Dr Moore for helping us to reassure you and we hope that the Junior Doctors are able to reach an agreement with the government.