ST HELENS and Knowsley NHS Trust has issued advice to patients detailing how services will be affected by this week's industrial action by junior doctors.

What are the strikes about?

Junior doctors have launched a three-day strike on Monday, March 13, as members of the British Medical Association are taking part in the longest-ever period of strikes by junior doctors.

The BMA launched an advertising campaign which said junior doctors could earn more money “serving coffee than saving patients”.

Public sector unions have criticised the Government over its handling of the pay disputes, which have been escalating for months.

The BMA said newly qualified medics earn £14.09 an hour, less than a barista in a coffee shop, adding that junior doctors in England will have suffered a 26% real-terms cut to their pay since 2008/09.

An advertising campaign launched by the trade union says: “Pret a Manger has announced it will pay up to £14.10 per hour. A junior doctor makes just £14.09. Thanks to this Government you can make more serving coffee than saving patients. This week junior doctors will take strike action so they are paid what they are worth.”

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Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said the union's demands are "completely unaffordable".

In a statement Barclay said: “It is incredibly disappointing the British Medical Association (BMA) has declined my offer to enter formal pay negotiations on the condition strikes are paused."

He also said that he wants to come to "a fair settlement" which recognises the crucial role of junior doctors and the wider economic pressures facing the UK.

How will St Helens & Knowsley be affected?

St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust have said how services will be affected by the industrial action this week and have issued the following advice to patients:

Clinic Appointments and Planned Care

If your appointment is affected by this industrial action, we will contact you directly by phone.

If you are not contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.

You do not need to contact the department in advance.

Emergency and Urgent Care

Regardless of any strike action taking place, it is extremely important that you continue to seek medical advice if needed.

Anyone who needs urgent medical care should continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening situations - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

St Helens Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC)

Services at St Helens Urgent Treatment Centre are NOT affected by this industrial action and will continue as normal.

Opening hours: 7am to 10pm (will close to new patients at 9.15pm)

Please keep A&E free for those who need it most and use the alternative community services available.

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.

NHS 111

NHS 111 Online can tell you:

  • Where to get help for your symptoms
  • How to find general health information and advice
  • Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • How to get a repeat prescription

Need urgent mental health crisis support?

If your mental or emotional state quickly gets worse or deteriorates, this can be called a ‘mental health crisis’. In this situation, it is important to get help quickly. 

If you need help, 24/7 support is available for children, young people and adults in St Helens, Halton, Knowsley and Warrington.

For direct support from a trained professional, text REACH to 85258 or call the Mental Health Crisis Team freephone: 0800 051 1508.

GP Services

GP services are not impacted by this strike action. Please continue to attend your GP appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.

Please remember to order your repeat prescriptions well in advance. If you do run out of medication, please contact your GP surgery or NHS 111 online who will advise you further.

Maternity Services

Unless contacted directly please continue to attend for your appointments/scans. All emergency maternity care will continue as normal. If you need urgent advice, please contact our Maternity Triage on Tel 0151 290 4489.

Cancer Services

Unless we contact you in advance, you should continue to attend all appointments for cancer care.