Local NHS braces for severe disruption due to first consultant strikes in a decade

19 July 2023

The NHS is bracing itself for one of the toughest strikes in its history beginning on Thursday morning, say health bosses at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Consultant doctors and hospital-based dentists will be taking strike action from 8am on Thursday until 8am on Saturday, with consultants only providing staffing levels to cover emergency care.

In contrast to strike action among other staff groups, no other clinicians can provide cover for consultants, so any planned care delivered by junior doctors or other healthcare professionals that requires even remote consultant supervision will need to be rescheduled.

The action by consultants follows on from the longest period of industrial action in NHS history by junior doctors, which started last Thursday and ended on Tuesday morning.

Advice for the public who need care has not changed – people should use 999 in life-threatening emergencies and NHS 111 online for other health concerns. GP services and pharmacies are also available for patients and can be accessed in the usual way.

Patients are also reminded that if you haven’t been contacted or informed that your planned appointment has been postponed, please attend as normal. If you have surgery or an outpatient appointment scheduled at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, please visit the website for the latest advice.

Dr Nick White, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “This could be the most severe impact we have seen in the NHS as a result of industrial action, with routine care virtually at a standstill for 48 hours.

“Consultants will not only stop seeing patients themselves, but they won’t be around to provide supervision over the work of junior doctors.

“It also follows on very closely from the longest ever junior doctors strike, which itself affected thousands of appointments, with back-to-back action leaving NHS services with almost no time to recover.

“We are working closely with our trusts to ensure that emergency and urgent care is prioritised, and patients remain safe, but it’s becoming more challenging to get services back on track after each round of action.”

Members of the public are reminded:

  • Life-threatening emergency or serious injury: call 999 or go to your nearest Emergency Department (A&E).
  • For medical attention and advice: use NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 as the first port of call.
  • Minor Injury Units, GP surgeries and pharmacies are not impacted by the strike action. Please continue to attend your GP appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.
  • If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
  • The NHS is also asking the public to play their part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.

More information about the industrial action can be found on the NHS England website.

Page last updated 19 July 2023