Shropshire Star

Patients with hospital appointments in Wales told to go unless contacted by NHS as junior doctors begin latest strike

Patients with appointments at hospitals in Wales have been urged to still attend these unless contacted by the NHS, as junior doctors start a four day strike.

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Junior doctors on strike. Picture: BMA Cymru Wales Junior Doctors

This period of industrial action, which if followed by the four day Easter Bank Holiday, does not affect hospitals in England.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which runs Wrexham Maelor Hospital, says the action will impact hospital services and it is "working hard with staff to keep patients safe during planned strikes while delivering the best care possible.

"This does, however, means that some planned care appointments will need to be rearranged. Anyone who has an appointment that needs to be rearranged will be contacted directly to discuss this.

"If you have a planned appointment then please still attend unless you are contacted directly to say otherwise."

The health board says that during this time it urges anyone who requires care or support to visit the NHS 111 Wales website in the first instance to be advised about the most appropriate service, which might be self-care at home, a visit to the pharmacy, a GP appointment, a Minor Injuries Unit, or, in life threatening circumstances, the hospital Emergency Department.

The message from Powys Heath Teaching Board is the same to attend planned care appointments unless the NHS contacts you to cancel.

In a life threatening emergency you should continue to call 999 or attend your nearest A&E department.

Urgent care advice is available from NHS Wales Online at or by calling 111.

Useful advice to help you access the right care in the right place at the right time is available from our website at

The British Medical Association, the junior doctors' union, says the 96-hour walkout, the longest yet will commence from 7am on Monday March 25 to 7am on Friday March 29.

Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey, co-chairs of BMA Cymru Wales’ Junior Doctors Committee said: “It’s extremely sad and frustrating that we find ourselves here again, our third strike and our longest yet. We don’t want to be in this position but again, faced with inaction, we are left with no choice."

The Welsh government insists the 5 per cent on offer is at the limits of what it can afford but it is working with the BMA and the NHS to limit the impact of the strikes.

The head of NHS Wales, Judith Paget, has warned the impact on services will be significant, and appointments and procedures will need to be rescheduled as a result.

Urgent and emergency care will be provided for those in need during the industrial action.

Judith Paget said: "We ask people to use alternatives to emergency departments if their need is not critical during the strike period. Alternatives include NHS 111 online or by phone, and pharmacies.

"If your appointment is not going ahead, your health board will contact you to let you know. If you aren’t contacted, please attend your appointment as planned."