LOCAL NHS services in Worcestershire are bracing themselves for a busy Easter bank holiday weekend and a four-day junior doctor’s strike.
To help the NHS cope with the anticipated demand, healthcare professionals are urging patients to use services wisely.
By using the right service, patients can ensure that care is available to those who need it most.
Patients are advised to first contact 111 online for non-life-threatening health needs, and to only use 999 for life-threatening emergencies.
Dr Christine Blanshard, chief medical officer, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Easter and all bank holidays are normally a busy time for health and care services, and with strikes planned, we are expecting services to be under increased pressure throughout the following week too.
“You can call 111 or visit 111 online, which is a free NHS Service and they can quickly direct you to the right health service, including out of hours GP appointments. Pharmacists can also help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries.”
“Local people can play their part to help reduce pressures on services by only using 999 and A&E for genuine life-threatening emergencies and using NHS 111 online or by phone for other care needs or if you’re unsure about whether you should go to hospital.
“If you have an appointment, please continue to come forward for the care you need. Please don’t call to check if your hospital appointment is going ahead, you’ll be contacted directly if it needs to be rearranged.”
During strike action – April 11 to 15 – the NHS will prioritise resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, and trauma, and ensure we prioritise patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.
Appointments will only be cancelled where it is necessary and will be rescheduled immediately, where possible.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year online at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 for any urgent but not life-threatening medical needs.
Trained advisers can direct people to the best possible care for their needs, including arranging an out-of-hours GP appointment or an appointment time to attend A&E or a Minor Injury Unit.