NHS bosses have issued advice to patients as they prepare for the impact of industrial action by junior doctors on Wednesday.
People are being asked to try to use pharmacies or call NHS 111 instead of visiting hospitals.
The national action is in response to proposed changes by the Government to junior doctor contracts.
The British Medical Association has announced industrial action between 8am on Wednesday, February 10 and 8am on Thursday, February 11 when emergency cover only will be provided.
In an outline of what can be expected on the day, NHS bosses say:
- Patients in need of urgent and emergency care will still be able to access the care they need. The emergency departments (A&E) at Ipswich and West Suffolk Hospitals will be open.
- Those with less urgent need who arrive at the emergency department may experience delays. Priority will be given to those with the most pressing health needs
- Some hospital appointments and procedures will be cancelled. Those patients affected will be contacted direct by the hospital as soon as possible. If patients are not contacted they should attend as originally planned.
They also advise:
- Residents to make sure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with basic supplies to treat minor injury and illness at home.
- Those who are feeling unwell not to wait until Wednesday, February 10 before taking action – speak to a pharmacist or call NHS 111.
- GPs will also be busy on Wednesday, February 10, so consider if you can wait and book an appointment on another day.
- Local pharmacies are a source of help and advice and can offer over-the-counter medicine to treat conditions.
- People should call 999 only in an emergency.
- If the situation is not an emergency call NHS 111 – the service is open 24 hours a day and you will speak to a Suffolk-based advisor who will advise on the best course of action.