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

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.

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.

Contact your GP surgery for appointments about illnesses or injuries that won’t go away. Many GPs offer an out of hours service, and there will also be GP appointments available through NHS 111. People can also visit their practice website for a range of online services (including repeat prescription requests, other online requests and to book a routine appointment).


Our services

Maternity services

Our maternity services, including midwifery-led services, will be running as normal however we will be suspending our home birth service to maximise safety during the ambulance strikes.

We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and our teams will continue to work with and support you to determine the best and safest options for you. We have contacted those who this directly affects and will keep this under review.

Visit our maternity services page for contact details.

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 Surrey hereSutton here, Wandsworth here and Merton here.

You can also access community support in Surrey by calling 0300 200 1008, in Wandsworth by calling 020 3880 0366, or in Merton by calling 020 8066 4086. For support in Sutton, please click here.

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

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