The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced its junior doctor members in England will be taking industrial action beginning with a full three day walkout strike in March. Many of our doctors at Gateshead Health are taking part and we expect our services to be severely impacted.
Strike action will continue day and night from 7am on Monday 13 March until 7am on Thursday 16 March. On these days to ensure patient safety we need to prioritise emergency and urgent treatment. Please only attend the accident and emergency department (A&E) if you are seriously unwell or require emergency treatment.
Unfortunately will have to reschedule some routine appointments and procedures and have been contacting patients directly to let them know. We know that this will be frustrating, however, it is essential to allow emergency care to continue to be available. All postponed appointments will be re-arranged as a priority. If you have a routine appointment and have not been contacted by us please attend as arranged.
During the industrial action, Blaydon Urgent Treatment Centre will also be closed from Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 March due to staffing pressures.
Frequently asked questions
What is happening?
Trade unions representing NHS staff are in dispute with the Government over the 2022/2023 pay award. A number of the unions have balloted their NHS members to take part in industrial action. This is the first round of action by the British Medical Association. Strike action is expected to start on Monday 13 March until Thursday 16 March. This will include junior doctors from Gateshead Health NHS Trust.
The NHS wants to see a resolution as soon as possible, but pay is a matter for the Government and the trade unions.
What if I need urgent or emergency care?
Anyone who needs urgent care should use NHS111 online or call NHS 111 to be assessed and directed to the right care for them. When someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should seek emergency care by calling 999 or going to A&E.
What if I have an appointment on strike days?
Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned, unless we have contacted you to reschedule. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as normal. If your appointment has been postponed and you were due to come into hospital using patient transport ambulance services, please let them know.
Will emergency care be affected on strike days?
Emergency care will continue to be available across all parts of the country. It is really important that in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or their life is at risk patients come to hospital as normal.
Will GP services be affected on strike days?
GP services will be running as normal on strike days. Please continue to attend scheduled GP appointments.
When will I find out if my appointment is rescheduled?
We will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. This is likely to be a letter or phone call, and you should be offered an alternative date for your appointment. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
Is there anything I should do now?
No. We will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
Should I cancel my appointment on the day of strikes?
No, if we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned. If you are not sure if your appointment is going ahead, please contact the clinic or department in your letter.
How long will services be impacted?
This is a continuous three day (72-hour) strike which means industrial action will start at 7am on Monday 13 March and last until 7am on Thursday 16 March. It will continue day and night over those days.