A fresh strike by junior doctors later this week has led to the NHS in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire renewing its call for people to help their local health service in any way they can.
Junior doctors from the Royal United Hospital in Bath, the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and Salisbury District are due to walk out at 7am on Friday 11 August.
This latest bout of industrial action is scheduled to last for four days, with those taking part not returning to work until 7am on Tuesday 15 August.
During this time, normal service at each of the hospitals will be significantly disrupted, and patients are likely to see pre-planned appointments postponed and waiting times for urgent and emergency care increase.
Members of the public are being asked to help by using services responsibly so that frontline teams can look after those most in need of care.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “As strike action within the NHS becomes more frequent, we need people’s understanding and continued support.
“It makes a huge difference if people can, wherever possible, manage simple symptoms at home with the help of over-the-counter medicine and the advice provided on the NHS website.
“Equally important is the need for people to attend their pre-planned hospital appointments unless told otherwise, as failing to turn up, however well intended, will waste all the work that has gone into keeping that specific service running.
“People who find themselves unsure of where to go or what to do regarding a medical issue during the strike should either use NHS 111 online or visit their nearest community pharmacy.”
Junior doctors are an essential part of day-to-day activity in the NHS, with the term junior doctor used to describe an extensive range of medics, from those who have just started their careers to those with many years of experience.
This latest strike by junior doctors comes at a challenging time for the NHS, with the walkout due to be followed by another round of consultant-led industrial action later in the month.
Consultants, who are the most senior and experienced clinicians in a hospital setting, will begin striking at 7am on Thursday 24 August and not return for 48 hours.
As this strike precedes the late summer bank holiday on Monday 28 August, the support of the public will once again be sought and greatly appreciated.
Further information on local health and care services, including how to access NHS 111, can be found online at www.bswtogether.org.uk/yourhealth.
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