NHS warns of disruption as already busy services prepare for strikes | News centre

  1. Text Size:
  2. Contrast:

NHS logo

News from Guildford and Waverley and across the Surrey Heartlands area

News and media releases from Guildford and Waverley and the Surrey Heartlands area

If you have some news to share, would like to see us feature a patient story or simply have a question, then feel free to get in touch with us.

Get in touch

NHS warns of disruption as already busy services prepare for strikes

Graphic displaying the dates of industrial action in December 2023, 20th to the 23rd December

Surrey's NHS warns of disruption as already busy services prepare for further strike action

The Joint Chief Medical Officers for Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership – which brings together NHS organisations and wider partners across Surrey – and clinical leaders from across the county, are warning of significant disruption to some services this week as a result of further planned industrial action, at a time when services are already seeing a high demand.

Junior doctors who are part of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) are due to take part in three days of joint industrial action from 7am on Wednesday 20th December to 7am on Saturday 23rd December, just days before the start of the festive period.

Health leaders from across Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership are warning of disruption to some services and encouraging people to still come forward if they need urgent medical help during the strike period.

Professor Andy Rhodes, Joint Chief Medical Officer for Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership explains:

We have well-rehearsed plans in place to manage periods of planned industrial action and, working together across health and care organisations, we will continue to prioritise critical services – but due to the scale of the impact, unfortunately many appointments and planned operations will have to be rescheduled.

During strike action back in September, over a four-day period, we rescheduled over 230 planned inpatient appointments and procedures and over 1,700 outpatients appointments – so we are seeing a significant impact each time.

If people need to access health advice and treatment during this period of planned industrial action, we are encouraging them to still come forward – and to use services responsibly and appropriately:

  • People should continue to use 111 online as the first port of call for urgent health advice or call 111 24/7 if people don’t have access to the internet.
  • People should only use 999 and A&E for serious or life-threatening conditions or medical emergencies (when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk).
  • If people’s appointments or procedures have been affected by industrial action the local NHS will contact people directly to reschedule them as soon as possible. If people haven’t been contacted, they should attend appointments as usual.

Dr David Fluck, Medical Director at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust added:

As a health and care system, we know strike action will put more pressure on frontline services, and our staff, who are already working incredibly hard. Although we are working hard to minimise the level of disruption, there will be an impact on some services, where some planned appointments and procedures will need to be rescheduled. Please come forward for your appointment if you haven’t been contacted to reschedule.


Angela Stevenson, Chief Executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, commented:

Our emergency department is already seeing high levels of demand for this time of year - with some of the highest number of ambulances in the region. While we are working round the clock to care for all those who need us - our services will be exceptionally busy this week. If you need urgent or emergency care now or over Christmas and New Year, it’s vital that you still come forward or call 999, while disruption should be expected we are working hard to minimise this.

If your condition isn’t life-threatening, please do not attend the emergency department and instead use other NHS services such as 111 online, your local pharmacy or GP, as well as nearby treatment centres, which will be running as normal and will be able to see you much sooner. This will help ensure care is available to patients who need it most.


Get the right care and support


This website makes use of Essential Cookies, as defined in the UK GDPR, in order to function and to improve your security, e.g. when submitting forms. These Essential Cookies are only for security and site function, and do not track individual in any way.

In order to better understand your needs and so improve our services to you, this website may also make use of some cookies that are used for traffic analytics or other behavioural statistics ("Analytics Cookies"): more details can be found on our website privacy and cookies statement. If you are happy to accept these Analytics Cookies, please press the Accept button; if you are not happy to accept these Analytics Cookies, this site will still work correctly but some third party services (such as some videos or social media feeds) may not display.

Please choose a setting: