Devon NHS braced for double strike action, expected to be ‘most difficult yet’

Published: 15 September 2023

Consultants in Devon are set to strike from the 19-20 September and junior doctors are set to strike from 20-22 September. NHS services across the county are preparing for double the impact with both groups due to strike together for the first time on 20 September.

Local people are being encouraged to use services wisely over the four days of industrial action to help the NHS cope with the challenging period ahead. On the day when junior doctors and consultants will both be taking industrial action (20 September), a minimum level of ‘Christmas Day’ medical staffing will be in place.

Dr Nigel Acheson, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Devon, said: “Teams across the NHS in Devon are doing their best to prepare for the upcoming industrial action but these strikes are set to be the most difficult yet in terms of impact on the day-to-day running of our services and on patients.

“We’re asking people to use the most appropriate service for their need. The NHS in Devon will still be here for those who need us and people suffering a life-threatening emergency should not hesitate to contact 999 or attend one of our emergency departments. However, I ask everyone else to carefully consider which service could help them best during the strike periods. 111 online is available for advice and your own GP or local pharmacy will be able to provide a range of other care.”

The message from the NHS in Devon is that urgent and emergency care will be there for you, but please choose the right service for your needs. The advice for patients is to:

  • Continue to call 999 in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk
  • Go to NHS 111 online if you need medical help or advice, or you are unsure about whether you should go to hospital; you can also phone 111
  • Please check local hospital trust websites for information on Minor Injury Units and Urgent Treatment Centres. Further information can be found here: Health Pressures – One Devon
  • Anyone with a hospital appointment should continue to attend as planned, unless they’ve been contacted to rearrange
  • If you, or someone you know, experiences a mental health crisis you can access support from a number of places:
    • 24/7 urgent mental health helpline 0808 196 8708
    • Mental Health Matters helpline (24/7) 0800 470 0317
    • Mental Health Crisis Line Plymouth is open 24/7 0800 923 9323
    • Samaritans 1116 123
    • Text SHOUT to 85258 for 24/7 text support
  • Play your part by taking simple steps during the industrial action to look after yourselves and loved ones, checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours. A first step is making sure your medicine cabinet is well-stocked
  • Make use of community pharmacies, which can advise on minor illnesses and provide medications. Details of which pharmacies are open over the bank holiday weekend can be found via the interactive map