NHS prioritises critical care as junior doctors start 4-day strike

Emergency, urgent and critical care is being prioritised by the NHS this week as strike action by junior doctors across the capital is expected to disrupt services, with thousands of patients facing postponements to routine care.

On standby: London hospitals such as Mayday and the ambulance service are ready for the strike action

Industrial action by junior doctors who are part of the British Medical Association and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association began at all hospital trusts across London this morning is set to continue until Saturday morning.

In a statement issued by NHS London, they said, “During this week, the NHS will prioritise resources to protect emergency and critical care, maternity care and where possible prioritise patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.”

The four-day strike over pay and working conditions by members has been described as “some of the most severe strike disruption to NHS services to date”.

Dr Chris Streather, medical director for the NHS in London, said, “The NHS has been working incredibly hard to limit the impact of industrial action in the capital this week and I’d like to thank my colleagues for their exceptional efforts.

“Our services will be extremely busy this week. We have no option but to prioritise emergency and critical care as a matter of patient safety, and we’re asking the public to help us and use 111 online as well as local services like general practice and pharmacies as first points of call.

“But people should of course always use 999 in a life-threatening emergency.”

NHS London said that despite the strike action, “It is important that Londoners still attend planned appointments unless advised otherwise.”

The NHS is also asking the public to play their part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.

Read more: NHS: Don’t delay coming forward for treatment during strike

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