PATIENTS in Hampshire are being urged to seek alternative services if possible as a walkout held by junior doctors may leave A&E departments extremely busy.

Junior doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA) will take part in industrial action from 7am on Wednesday, December 20 to 7am on Saturday, December 23 over disputes surrounding pay and conditions.

Ahead of the strikes, Hampshire hospitals are anticipating that emergency departments will be incredibly busy and are therefore asking visitors to use alternative services such as pharmacies or 111 unless the situation is life or limb-threatening.

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Dr Tim Cooper, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board said: “We are asking you to help your local NHS by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after yourselves, your loved ones and to check in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.

“No one should put off seeking urgent care in an emergency during the strike action, however, we are urging people to only attend our Emergency Departments if it is a life or limb-threatening situation.

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 “There are a number of alternative services including pharmacies, urgent treatment centres (UTCs), Healthier Together and 111 online. By using one of these alternative services, it allows our teams in our emergency departments to attend to those patients who urgently need care and attention.

 “If you have an appointment during the industrial action, then please continue to attend as planned unless you have been contacted to reschedule.

 “We are working closely with our partners across the counties to plan, prepare and mitigate the potential impact and patient care remains our top priority. We are working hard to ensure that we continue to deliver the best level of care possible.”