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Ambulance strikes useful information

Ambulance service staff across the country will be taking strike action on Wednesday 11 January 2023. Ambulance services may also be affected on the following day, Thursday 12 January 2023.

Regardless of any strike action taking place, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

GP services are not impacted by this strike action.

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, or it may take longer to reach you than usual.

While our services, including our Emergency Departments, will be operating as normal we would ask you to use services responsibly as we are expecting to be extremely busy.

The NHS.UK website has more information on   when to call 999 and   when to go to A&E.

  • If you need NHS treatment and there is an immediate threat to life you should continue to call 999.
  • If you need advice for an every-day illness or injury, please either contact your local pharmacy for help or look at the self-care advice that's available on-line from the NHS at  www.nhs.uk.
  • If you want to check your symptoms, there is an on-line symptom checker available at  www.111.nhs.uk, which will re-direct you to a health professional if you need to be seen by someone
  • If you have persistent symptoms that are not getting better, contact your GP practice for advice

Your local pharmacist is an expert in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

You can find your nearest open pharmacy by clicking here.

If symptoms suggest it's something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example, they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

All pharmacists train for five years in the use of medicines. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment.

Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.

Maternity Services - keeping you and your baby safe

Please contact us if:

  • You start to have contractions
  • Your waters break
  • You notice any bleeding
  • You notice any changes in your baby's movement

Or if you have any worries or concerns during this time.

You can contact your midwife or one of our pregnancy assessment units on:

  • University Hospital of North Durham: 0191 3332142
  • Darlington Memorial Hospital: 01325 743025

What if I have an appointment on a strike day?

Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned, unless we have contacted you directly to reschedule.

If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital