People with minor injuries or ailments will have to wait much longer than usual if they decide to go to Northampton General Hospital’s A&E department today or tomorrow.
That is what NHS bosses are warning people as a 48 hour strike by junior doctors takes place from 8am today until 8am on Friday. During this time, junior doctors will provide cover for emergencies only.
As a result of the industrial action, 42 operations and procedures as well as 240 outpatient appointments have been cancelled. This is less than previous junior doctor strikes as, due to forewarning, fewer slots and surgeries were booked in.
The NHS urged people to think carefully about whether they can treat their minor illness at home, with help from their local pharmacist or by calling NHS 111.
Dr Darin Seiger, chair of NHS Nene, said: “A&E should only be used for critical or life-threatening situations requiring medical attention, such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, overdoses, ingestion or poisoning.
“People with minor injuries and ailments should not attend at the A&E department and are warned they will be referred elsewhere or face longer waits than normal as more serious cases are prioritised.”
The NHS said there will “inevitably” be an impact on planned services during the strike.
While the majority of scheduled appointments will go ahead, some non-urgent planned appointments and procedures will have to be rescheduled.
Patients will be contacted by the hospital, by letter, should their appointment or procedure be affected. Any patients who have not received a letter or phone call are advised to attend their scheduled appointment.
Community and mental health provider Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are not expecting any disruption.