HOSPITAL consultants and junior doctors will take part in strike action on the same day this week – the first time in NHS history.

The action has prompted NHS leaders to urge people to access hospital care wisely, as services are expected to be severely impacted.

Across the North West, hospital consultants will strike from 7am on Tuesday, September 19 to 7am on 21 September.

Junior doctors will strike from 7am on September 20, to 7am on 23 September, bringing almost all routine care to a standstill.

On Wednesday September 20, 2023 from 7am, both junior doctors and consultants will deliver "Christmas day levels of staffing" only, meaning that while emergency care will be provided, limited elective activity based on clinical urgency will take place on days of industrial action.

Ahead of the extensive action, the NHS is reminding the public that they should continue to use health services as they usually would – using 999 and A&E in life-threatening and emergency situations, and using 111 online for less-urgent health concerns.

GPs and pharmacies can be used by the public for health advice and appointments as normal.

NHS North West say that in contrast to strike action among other staff groups, no other clinicians can provide cover for consultants.

This means any planned care delivered by junior doctors or other healthcare professionals that requires even remote consultant supervision will need to be rescheduled.

A significant amount of planned care will be affected, and many services will have avoided scheduling planned appointments altogether.

Dr Paula Cowan, regional medical director for primary care for NHS England – North West, said: “With both consultants and junior doctors striking on the same day, this unique period of action will affect almost all routine care and put additional pressure on our urgent and emergency care services.

“Please continue to come forward for the care you need, including using 999 and A&E for life-threatening situations, and 111 online for less urgent health advice. You should use GP and pharmacy services as normal, including attending planned appointments unless told otherwise.

“We’re very grateful to the public for using the NHS wisely during this period when we will be prioritising emergency care.”