TAMESIDE Hospital has warned patients to expect significant disruption to services as junior doctors prepare to walk out for four days in the latest round of industrial action.
Staff at all NHS hospitals across Greater Manchester are planning to strike from 7am on Wednesday, June 14 until 7am on Saturday, June 17.
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Ashton-based unit, says although they have plans to keep disruption to a minimum, postponements for treatment can be expected.
People are being urged only to use the A&E department in real emergencies.
Anyone not facing an emergency, and who cannot wait to speak to a GP, can find the best options for their needs via NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk in the first instance, unless the issue concerns a child under five, when they should call 111.
Lots of illnesses can also be managed safely at home, or with a trip to a local pharmacist.
As there is predicted warmer weather on the days of the planned strike action, people have also been reminded to enjoy the sun safely and to take care as temperatures rise.
Those wishing to make the most of the sun should remember to stay hydrated, drink sensibly if drinking alcohol, use suncream and stay cool in the shade. If you do experience minor sunburn, heat rash or hay fever, local pharmacists can give advice on the best treatment options.
Mr Dilraj Sandher, Executive Medical Director for Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT on behalf of NHS acute medical directors, said: “We are working hard to minimise disruption to services and it is important that, irrespective of any industrial action, that members of the public do not hesitate to come forward to access care if they need it.
“We’re urging people to make NHS 111 Online their first port of call if they need urgent health advice on days of strike action. Staff working at GP surgeries, community pharmacies, and dentistry are not on strike and the public should continue to access these services as needed on strike days and attend all appointments unless contacted.”
NHS Greater Manchester, like partners nationally, has been preparing extensively for industrial action, with plans in place to manage additional demand including more beds, better help for people returning home who still need some care support, and additional capacity for GP appointments.
Locally, a system of mutual aid and support between hospitals and also ambulance sites are in place, diverts agreed between different hospitals and an additional push to discharge people who are well enough to leave.