Published on: 23 August 2023

People are being urged to be prepared for the long holiday weekend ahead following on from a two-day strike by consultants.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has said the doctors will take industrial action this Thursday, August 24, from 7am, and 7am on Saturday, August 26.

The strike days will take place in the lead up to the August Bank Holiday, which runs from Saturday, August 26, to Monday, August 28.

Ahead of the action and long weekend, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has issued advice to help ensure emergency teams are free to help deal with those in a life-threatening condition.

This is to help people prepare in case they become unwell or injured and make sure they seek support from the right place if they do need urgent attention.

Patients have been asked to attend their appointment as usual, unless they are told otherwise. 

They may also face even longer waits than usual if they need emergency help during the industrial action, weekend and in the days afterwards.

Dr Sean Fenwick the Trust’s Deputy Chief Executive and its Director of Operations, said:

"We want people to enjoy the weekend, but do everything they can to be ready in case they do need help.

"NHS 111 online and on the phone is always a good place to start for self-care help. The service can also make sure you get the help you need from the right place if you do need to be seen in person.

"A well-stocked medicine cupboard is always a good idea and pharmacists are an excellent source of advice and help if you’re not feeling well or have a minor injury.

"We’re sharing these messages because need to make sure our emergency departments are ready to help those most in need of help. 

"By taking these steps and by everyone playing their part, it will help us prioritise that care for the seriously ill and injured.

"The industrial action brings us additional challenges in the lead up to the Bank Holiday, but people should be assured we are here to help those who need us. Patients will be told in advance if the appointment with their consultant has to be rearranged."

Details of pharmacies open during the weekend across the region can be found by clicking here.

Parents, carers and young people can also use the Healthier Together app or website which provides NHS healthcare advice and top tips on a range of child related illnesses. It also offers information on local services.

Anyone in need of urgent mental health support should continue to seek it via their local Crisis Team. People can put their postcode in here to find their local crisis line here.