Published on: 9 August 2023
NHS leaders at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are appealing for help from the public as local hospitals brace themselves for another round of industrial action.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced junior doctors will take part in four days of industrial action. It will run from 7am on Friday, August 11 until 7am on Tuesday, August 15.
Members of the public are being urged to prepare ahead as local hospital services will come under increased pressure.
People should only attend the Emergency Department if they have a life-threatening condition or injury.
People are also being asked to only call 999 for an ambulance if they are facing a life-threatening illness or injury.
Like all hospitals across the region, services are expected to be disrupted at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Patients who do attend hospital over the course of the BMA industrial action will face long waits to be seen and in the days after the strikes next week.
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has joined others around the region in the plea.
The NHS across the North East has plans to make sure emergency and urgent care across its hospitals remain open, but patients are being asked to play their part in helping teams prioritise those most in need.
The NHS 111 service online via 111.nhs.uk and by phone is available around the clock for advice and can help people seek care from the right place.
A symptom checker can be used to assess symptoms. The service will then re-direct to a health professional if people need to be seen in person.
Patients with appointments at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are asked to attend these as planned, unless they are told otherwise.
Dr Shaz Wahid, the Trust’s Executive Medical Director, said:
"People should be assured we do have plans in place and there will be safe levels of care for patients who need our help in an emergency.
"We need to make sure our emergency departments can help those most in need and we can all play a part in making sure our teams can look after those who are most seriously ill or hurt.
"This latest strike action will cause some disruption for our planned services and some people’s appointments will need to be rearranged. We’ll make contact directly with them, so unless you hear otherwise, please come in as expected.
"GP surgeries will remain open during the weekdays and our pharmacists are very good source of advice and treatments.
"The 111 service is also on hand 24/7 and can help direct you to the right place for care."
A self-care advice is also available online from the NHS at www.nhs.uk.
Anyone needing urgent mental health support should continue to seek it via their local Crisis Team.
People can put their postcode into this website to find their local crisis line by clicking here.