Trade unions representing NHS staff have advised the Secretary of State that they are in dispute over the 2022/23 pay award. A number of the unions are balloting, or have signalled their intention to ballot, their NHS members to take part in industrial action. Details of confirmed strike days have been made available by NHS Employers.
Regardless of any strike action taking place, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
GP services are not directly impacted by this strike action. Please continue to attend your GP appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.
The NHS is asking patients to use services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most. If you need medical help or advice, go to NHS 111 online unless it is a life-threatening emergency when you should still call 999.
Patients should only call 999 if it is a medical or mental health emergency [when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk]. Ambulances will still be able to respond in these situations, but this may only be where there is an immediate risk to life. There will be fewer ambulances on the roads during industrial action, with the NHS prioritising those with life-threatening needs. As a result patients whose conditions are not life-threatening may not get an ambulance on strike days.
During strike days, there is an expectation 999 services will be exempt; however, it is likely 999 call handlers will be very busy. NHS 111 call centres will have fewer staff, with longer call response times expected across the system. As a result, we are urging anyone with non-urgent care needs to first seek help from NHS 111 online.
The NHS is already facing record demand on urgent and emergency care services – October and November were the busiest on record for A&E attendances and the most serious ambulance callouts. Industrial action means these services will be under increased pressure so it is vital that people use the services available appropriately.
Public information on strike action can be found here.