Strike action – how to access care and how we are continuing care

It has been announced that the London Ambulance Service will be striking on Wednesday 21 December from midday to midnight. The following days may also be affected as a result.

How to access urgent or emergency care

On days where there is strike action, you should only call 999 if it is a medical or mental health emergency (when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk). Ambulances will still be able to respond in these situations, but this may only be where there is an immediate risk to life.

There will be fewer ambulances on the roads during industrial action, with the NHS prioritising those with life-threatening needs. As a result, patients whose conditions are not life-threatening may not get an ambulance on strike days.

Find out more about ambulance response categories.

For those driving to our emergency department in a medical emergency, please follow instructions from staff marshalling the hospital site and do not park on or obstruct our roads.

If you need care, but it isn’t an emergency, there are a number of options available…

If you have an urgent healthcare need but it isn’t an emergency, contact NHS 111 online as your first port of call, as this service can quickly advise you where to go and what to do next.

Your local pharmacy can also provide advice on minor health concerns from skin rashes to earaches and flu. Many pharmacies open late and no appointment is needed. Find your nearest pharmacy here.

Contact your GP surgery for appointments about illnesses or injuries that won’t go away. Many GPs offer an out of hours service.

Find out more about where to go if you need medical advice, but it’s not an emergency.

Read NHS England’s frequently asked questions about the industrial action.

Our services

Maternity services

Our maternity services will be running as usual. Please plan how you would come to hospital on a day when there is strike action, if you needed to.  

If you have any worries, or think you’re in labour, please contact us for advice as early as possible on 020 8934 2802.

If you are planning a homebirth around this time, your midwife will speak to you about what this means for your care. 

Planned care

Please attend any outpatient appointment or elective surgery that you have planned as normal. We are not postponing any outpatient appointments or surgery as a result of strike action, and GP appointments are also not affected. The NHS will contact you directly if there is any change to your appointment.

Please be aware of the ongoing transport strikes and plan your journey to us in advance. See National Rail or Transport for London for the latest travel advice.

How to stay well this winter

The best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and the NHS this winter, is to get your flu and Covid vaccines. You can find more information and book them here.

If you take regular medication, please ensure that you have enough to last you over the bank holiday period or get your repeat prescription in advance. Similarly, if you receive care or treatment from a particular team, please contact them if you need support or advice.

Please regularly check in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours who may need additional support throughout the colder weeks.

Keep warm by wearing additional appropriate layers for the colder weather and maintaining a warm home or accessing community ‘warm spaces’ in Kingston here or Richmond here.

You can keep up to date with the weather forecast by checking the Met Office’s website here

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