Leaders encourage people to use services wisely ahead of this weekend’s strike action

Health leaders across Suffolk and north east Essex are encouraging patients to ‘talk before they walk’ ahead of this weekend’s planned strike action by some nursing professionals.

They are urging people to use services wisely and to speak to professionals – such as pharmacists, their GP or by calling 111 – if they need advice or support relating to a health condition and to only attend A&E if it is a genuine life-threatening condition.

Lisa Nobes, Chief Nurse at NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, said: “If you feel unwell make that call or click online to NHS 111, go to your local pharmacy where no appointment is needed to access help and advice or make contact with your local GP surgery.

“All these services are open and are there to help you, so please use them if you need to.

“The worst thing that could happen is to put off seeking medical help during the weekend because of the strike action.

“I would encourage people not to do this as it could result in their condition worsening as well as potentially lead to a surge in demand for services when this period of strike action ends.”

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Patients have been supporting us during the last rounds of strike action.

“Please continue to help us by remembering our emergency departments remain open and our staff are there to treat people with the most serious and life-threatening conditions, so don’t delay in getting help if you need it.

“In addition, please don’t come to our emergency departments if you’ve got a minor illness or injury, either this week or beyond.

“There will be people who will need life-saving treatment so please consider those other health care options that are available if your condition is less serious.”

Nicola Cottington, Chief Operating Officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “To help the NHS we are asking local people to continue to seek the most appropriate source of treatment for their health needs this week.

“People will no doubt think this is a busy time so may decide not to seek advice or help until next week when this latest round of strike action is over. Please don’t do that. The NHS is open now.”

For more information about staying well in Suffolk and north east Essex, please visit www.sneewellbeing.org.uk