Please only use 999 or A&E for emergencies only!

This is the plea from NHS health leaders as the region prepares for joint strike action by junior doctors and consultants.

The industrial action will last four days. There will be a 48-hour walk-out by British Medical Association (BMA) member consultants from 7am on Tuesday 19 September until 7am on Thursday 21 September. There will also be a 72-hour walk-out by BMA member junior doctors from 7am on Wednesday 20 September until 7am on Saturday 23 September.

NHS teams across the region have been working ahead of the strike to understand the potential impact this may have and to put in place plans to reschedule appointments for patients, and prioritise urgent and emergency care services.

You should keep your appointment unless you hear otherwise. Anyone needing urgent mental health support should continue to seek it via their local Crisis Team.

The public can expect long delays and more disruption to NHS services during this latest period of industrial action.

Dr Adrian Clements, medical director for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said: Dr Adrian Clements 27.jpg

“During the strike period the availability of our senior medical staff will be stretched and the availability of staff that can see you will be dramatically reduced. There will be an impact on waiting times and discharges, however the team will maintain patient safety and make sure unwell patients are seen in a timely manner. There may be delays to be seen if you do not have a serious problem.   

"We are prioritising emergency and urgent care services, and we really need the public's help to only call 999 and attend emergency departments if it is a genuine life-threatening injury or illness.”

“If families can work with us to support patients to get home, we can then release beds for others who need to be in hospital. The strikes don’t affect the whole of the NHS so GPs, pharmacies and the 111 service should always be used as the first port of call for advice unless your needs are urgent or life threatening and then of course we will be there for you.

“We have worked very hard over the last two weeks to look at how we can maintain as many services as possible. Patient safety is our main priority and while some outpatient clinics and planned surgery has had to be postponed, emergency care will be maintained. If you do access our services, please be kind to our staff.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone for their support and help; this period will be extremely difficult however we have plans in place to keep patients safe and staff supported.”

Public are reminded for urgent health needs, which are not life-threatening, NHS 111 online is available 24 hours a day. A symptom checker can be used to assess symptoms and it will re-direct to a health professional if people need to be seen by someone, you can also call NHS111. Self-care advice is also available on-line from the NHS.

Our Urgent Treatment Centres in Keswick and Penrith are also available for advice for a range of issues that are urgent but not life threatening.

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 along with information on local services.

Anyone needing urgent mental health support should continue to seek it via their local Crisis Team. People can also search by postcode here to find their local crisis line.