Visual of four doctors, standing behind each other. One is holding a stethoscope.

Health leaders in Greater Manchester are urging members of the public to use NHS 111 Online for all non-emergency healthcare needs as the NHS enters its tenth month of strike action this September.

For the first time, this action will see junior doctors and hospital consultants striking at the same time, providing “Christmas Day” staffing only.

The industrial action will see 96 hours of continuous strikes, starting with consultants striking from 07:00 AM on Tuesday, 19 September to 07:00 AM on Thursday, 21 September and junior doctors striking from 07:00 AM on Wednesday 20 September to 07:00 AM on Saturday 23 September. This means both groups will strike together on Wednesday, 20 September.

NHS hospitals across Greater Manchester are expected to be severely impacted by these strikes, and the public are being advised that there will significant disruption to services.

Patients with appointments at hospitals are asked to attend these as planned unless they are told otherwise.  If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.

Where to get help from? Get to know where to go:

NHS 111:

NHS Greater Manchester is urging members of the public to use NHS 111 Online for all non-emergency healthcare needs, in the first instance, unless the issue concerns a child under 5, when they should call 111. Deaf people or people with hearing loss can dial 18001 111 on a textphone or use the Relay UK app (which can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store).

NHS 111 Online can help if:

  • You need help but don’t know who to call,
  • How to find general health information and advice,
  • You are ill and need to be told what to do next, and
  • How to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine.

 Pharmacy:

Lots of illnesses can also be managed safely at home, or with a trip to a local pharmacist. There are pharmacies open late in to the night and very early in the morning. Find your nearest one here: Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk).

Urgent dental care:

The Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service is available from 8am to 10pm every day including weekends for severe dental pain and infection. People can call 0333 332 3800 to be assessed by a healthcare professional, who can provide self-care advice or book a face-to-face appointment, if needed.

Urgent eye care:

Free urgent eyecare is available across all 10 areas of Greater Manchester. If you have a sudden and urgent problem with your eyes, you can contact a local practice to get an appointment: NHS Greater Manchester Community Urgent Eye Care Service (CUES) – Primary Eyecare Services.

Mental health:

 For free urgent mental health support, people can contact one of these 24/7 helplines – they’re available to anyone of any age:

  • Bolton, Manchester, Salford, Trafford, and Wigan 0800 953 0285 (freephone).
  • Bury, Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport, and Tameside 0800 014 9995 (freephone).

If there’s an immediate risk of danger to life, you should ring 999.

Mr Dilraj Sandher, executive medical director for Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT on behalf of NHS acute medical directors in Greater Manchester, said:

“We are now entering the tenth month of industrial action across the NHS, and staff continue to work hard to provide patients with the best possible care. People should know we have plans in place to ensure we have safe staffing levels for patients who do need urgent help.

“Each of us can play a part in making sure our emergency departments can help those most in need by using other services where appropriate. The NHS 111 service is on hand around the clock and can help direct you to the right place for care.

“This latest strike action will cause disruption for our planned services and may mean some appointments will need to be rearranged. Those patients will hear from hospitals directly, so unless people hear otherwise, they should come to hospital as expected.

“GP surgeries will remain open during these days of action and pharmacists are very good source of advice and treatments.

“Whilst respecting colleagues’ right to take industrial action, we hope a resolution will be found soon.”

Local NHS services will be using their websites and social media channels to provide up to date information to the public about local service disruption – so people are urged to check before travelling.


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