Date published: 22 August 2023

Staffing levels across Cheshire and Merseyside will be similar to those in place on Christmas Day as the NHS prepares for the latest round of industrial action by hospital consultants.

A second round to strikes by hospital consultants for 48 hours will take place from 7am on Thursday 24 August until 7am on Saturday 26 August ahead of the bank holiday weekend. Emergency services will remain in place on Thursday and Friday but significant service disruption is likely.

Prof Rowan Prichard-Jones, Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said: "We're now in the ninth month of industrial action across the NHS, and staff continue to work tirelessly to provide patients with the best possible care under the circumstances.

“The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to mitigate risks to patient safety and manage the disruption caused by industrial action, but this week’s strikes by hospital consultants in the run up to the bank holiday weekend will inevitably lead to significant disruption for many patients.

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“Consultants are senior doctors who not only see patients but are also responsible for supervising junior doctors and other staff. When consultants take strike action this week, they will stop delivering care directly or providing supervision of the work of our junior staff. Without supervision, it may not be possible for some care delivered by junior doctors, or other staff to take place safely."

All urgent and emergency care services will remain open, and in the event of a life or limb-threatening emergency the public are advised to ring 999. Non-emergency issues should be dealt with by using NHS 111 Online to ensure correct signposting to the right service.

Christmas Day staffing levels will ensure emergency care continues to be provided and patients remain safe while consultants take lawful industrial action, but disruption should be expected and elective or non-emergency care will be significantly impacted.

Mersey Care will contact patients and service users directly if appointments are affected – so please attend as planned if you have not heard from us in advance. We will also be using our website and social media channels to provide up to date information about local service disruption, so please check for updates before you travel.

NHS 111 Online can tell you:

  • Where to get help for your symptoms
  • How to find general health information and advice
  • Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • How to get a repeat prescription
  • How to get an emergency dental appointment

Ahead of the bank holiday we are also reminding people to plan ahead and order any repeat prescriptions for medication early, and that over the weekend some local pharmacies may have different opening hours.

For the most up-to-date information, find your nearest pharmacy and their opening hours here.

More information about when to call 999 and when to go to A&E is available via the national NHS website.