The UK is currently experiencing a heatwave across the country at the same time as the third strike by junior doctors in a dispute over pay is taking place.
The strike began at 7am on 14 June and will last for 72 hours. The NHS has said it would have to prioritise emergency and lifesaving care during the strike action. Consultants will provide cover, but the numbers are expected to be less than during previous strikes in March and April.
However, hot weather causes a high demand on urgent services, due to the increased rates of cases of heatstroke, sprains, fractures, and respiratory problems. The heat also brings an increase in heart failure and kidney problems. NHS bosses are therefore urging Brits to avoid the sun at the hottest time of the day and drink plenty of fluids to avoid putting extra pressure on the health service.
NHS England Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The NHS is facing significant disruption this week, with a three-day strike that is set to be exacerbated by the ongoing hot weather.
“Emergency, urgent and critical care will be prioritised this week but some patients will unfortunately have had their appointments postponed – if you haven’t been contacted to reschedule, please do continue to attend your planned appointment.
“As ever, use 999 and A&E for life-threatening emergencies – and NHS 111 online for all other health conditions.”