Southwark patients have been told to only use A&E in “real emergencies” during the junior doctors’ strikes.
The strike from yesterday (Wednesday, December 20) to Saturday, December 23 has come at “the worst time of year” with emergency departments “already extremely busy”, local hospitals said in a statement.
Bosses at Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) and King’s College Hospital say this will help them prioritise patients needing care most urgently.
In a joint statement, south London hospital leaders said: “We are really disappointed that talks between the government and BMA have broken down. These strikes have been announced at one of the worst times of the year for us – before Christmas and just after Christmas.
“We are working hard to ensure patient safety is maintained and emergency services will be there for those that need them.
“But we would really appeal for people to use urgent and emergency services appropriately during the strike period to help our teams prioritise those patients who need care most urgently.”
Today (December 21) marks the 27th day of strike action in junior doctors’ pay dispute.
Pre-Christmas disruption will be followed by a six-day strike from 7am on Wednesday, January 3, until 7am on Tuesday, January 9.
The January walk-out will be the longest in NHS history.