The NHS in Greater Manchester is working to put plans in place so that those who need urgent care will get it, with patient safety remaining our number one priority. Inevitably there will be some service disruption on strike days, so to ensure that we can prioritise those with urgent needs, NHS GM is asking the public to only call 999 or go to an emergency department if it is a medical or mental health emergency, when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
Anyone not facing an emergency, and who cannot wait to speak to a GP, can find the best options for their needs via NHS 111 Online at 111.nhs.uk in the first instance, unless the issue concerns a child under 5, when they should call 111. Lots of illnesses can also be managed safely at home, or with a trip to a local pharmacist.
As there is predicted warmer weather on the days of the planned strike action, NHS GM is also reminding people to enjoy the sun safely and to take care as temperatures rise. Those wishing to make the most of the sun should remember to stay hydrated, drink sensibly if drinking alcohol, use sun cream and stay cool in the shade. If you do experience minor sunburn, heat rash or hay fever, local pharmacists can give advice on the best treatment options.
The NHS will continue to do everything it can to go ahead with planned procedures – especially for patients in greatest clinical need – and will contact you if an appointment needs to be rescheduled. If you have not been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.
Mr Dilraj Sandher, Executive Medical Director for Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT on behalf of NHS acute medical directors in GM, said: “We are working hard to minimise disruption to services and it is important, irrespective of any industrial action, that members of the public do not hesitate to come forward to access care if they need it.
“We’re urging people to make NHS 111 Online their first port of call if they need urgent health advice on days of strike action. Staff working at GP surgeries, community pharmacies, and dentistry are not on strike and the public should continue to access these services as needed on strike days and attend all appointments unless contacted.”
NHS Greater Manchester, like partners nationally, has been preparing extensively for industrial action, with plans in place to manage additional demand including more beds, better help for people returning home who still need some care support, and additional capacity for GP appointments.
Locally, a system of mutual aid and support between hospitals and also ambulance sites are in place, diverts agreed between different hospitals and an additional push to discharge people who are well enough to leave hospital.
Individual NHS services will also keep their websites and social media accounts up to date with information about local service disruption – so please check before you travel.