September 2023 – Industrial action update
From 7am on Tuesday 19 September until 7am on Thursday 21 September, consultants who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) and British Dental Association (BDA) are taking 48 hours of national strike action.
Junior doctors who are members of the BMA and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) are taking national strike action for 72 hours from 7am on Wednesday 20 September until 7am on Saturday 23 September.
Both periods of strike action will affect a number of NHS trusts, including Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
The industrial action is a national dispute between the government and trades unions about terms and conditions.
Patient safety is our top priority, and we are committed to maintaining patient care as much as possible and providing the most essential services on these days. We will only reschedule appointments and procedures where necessary and will rebook immediately, where possible.
What will feel different?
Teams across the trust are working together to ensure that we can continue to provide urgent and emergency care for all patients, and to keep as many of our services running as possible.
We know that some of our patients will be impacted by the strike action, and this could include longer waiting times in the Emergency Department for non-urgent cases, deferred treatment and in some areas, we may need to consolidate services (so where there are two services in an area, only one may be open).
You may also see a difference in the colleagues who are working on our wards, as teams work together from across a broad range of service areas to provide essential services.
During this period of industrial action, there may also be some last-minute changes to planned procedures or appointments. Please be patient and kind to all our colleagues during this time.
Advice for patients
Appointments and services
If you have an appointment, please attend as planned. Please don’t call to check if your appointment is going ahead. If your appointment is affected by industrial action, we will contact you directly.
We continue to welcome family members and loved ones to visit patients at our hospitals, please speak to your ward to arrange visits as usual.
Which service should I access?
Regardless of any strike action taking place, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
We would like to encourage anyone with a non-urgent care need to first seek help from NHS 111, before attending our hospital sites.
- If you have a life-threatening emergency, our ED is open 24 hours a day
- If you have a minor illness or minor injury - pharmacies and MIUs are open
- If you have an urgent medical problem that isn’t a serious or life-threatening emergency and aren’t sure what to do, contact 111 first by phone or online at 111.nhs.uk– they will provide immediate medical advice and direct you to the best care for your needs
- GP services are open as usual
- Self-care: Visit NHS 111 online for self-care advice for things like grazed knees, coughs and colds
- Pharmacy: Visit your local pharmacy for headaches, upset stomachs, aches and pains
- Minor injury unit: Attend your local minor injuries unit for urgent not life-threatening conditions and injuries such as sprains, fractures and burns. For the latest information on opening hours and services, visit the MIU pages.
- Further information on NHS services, opening hours and waiting times can also be found by downloading the NHS Quicker App.
You can find more information about healthcare services across Somerset on the NHS Somerset website.
Please use services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most. This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.
Visit the NHS England website for more information about the strikes, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions.