THE majority of hospital appointments will be postponed at some Dorset and Somerset hospitals during a strike by junior doctors this week.
NHS Dorset said the industrial action, which runs until 7am on Tuesday, July 18, would see junior doctors walk out in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Consultants are also set to strike this month, walking out for 48 hours, starting at 7am on Thursday, July 20.
A spokesperson for NHS Dorset said: “Our junior doctors are vital for patient care and the running of our hospital services.
“During their industrial action, some medically-led activity will be postponed to ensure that we can provide safe emergency and inpatient care.
“You will hear directly from us if we have to rearrange your appointment – if you don’t hear from us please attend as planned.”
However, they said people should still seek emergency care, with those suffering ‘serious, life-threatening conditions’ still being seen at emergency departments.
Others are being urged to visit NHS 111 online, or call 111, for other urgent care needs.
In Somerset, an NHS spokesperson said the action would have ‘a significant impact upon planned and routine care’.
“Teams across the trust are working together to ensure that we can continue to provide urgent and emergency care for all patients, and to keep as many of our services running as possible,” they said.
“We know that some of our patients will be impacted by the strike action, and this could include longer waiting times in the Emergency Department for non-urgent cases, deferred treatment and in some areas, we may need to consolidate services (so where there are two services in an area, only one may be open).
“You may also see a difference in the colleagues who are working on our wards, as teams work together from across a broad range of service areas to provide essential services.
“During this period of industrial action, there may also be some last-minute changes to planned procedures or appointments. Please be patient and kind to all our colleagues during this time.”
People with appointments are being advised to attend, unless they have heard from the hospital.
Emergency departments will be open. Minor injury units are also open, they said, while others are urged to use the NHS 111 service.