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Industrial action by junior doctors at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which starts this week, is expected to significantly impact NHS services.

Junior doctors will be taking strike action before Christmas, from 7am on 20 December to 7am on 23 December and again in the New Year from 7am on 3 January to 7am on 9 January 2024.

During the strikes, Airedale Hospital and Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ emergency services will remain open but a significant amount of elective care treatments and outpatient appointments will be impacted. GP surgeries will remain open as normal but are expected to be busier than usual as a result.

The NHS is asking patients to choose services wisely during the industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to the sickest patients who need it most.

This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

Saj Azeb, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The industrial action will reduce the number of junior doctors we have in our hospitals, and this has a particular impact in A&E.

“Throughout this week some elective care and outpatient appointments will be cancelled and rearranged so that we can ensure we can continue to run emergency care services – but please attend any booked appointments unless you hear otherwise.”

Leanne Cooper, Chief Operating Officer at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust added: “Because of the festive season and the fact we’re in the busiest winter period for the NHS when people are more unwell, our Emergency Departments are already extremely busy. They will now be additionally impacted by the industrial action taking place, so it’s incredibly important that people only come to A&E if they are seriously unwell or injured.

“We will do our best to minimise the impact on elective care and outpatient appointments and those patients affected will be contacted. To help look after those who need emergency medical help, please use NHS 111 online as a first port of call for non-urgent medical advice.

“Remember 999 and A&E departments are for the most serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses.”

Mental wellbeing support will continue to be available through Guide-Line between 8am and midnight on 08001 884 884 or the Healthy Minds website to get help. For 24/7 urgent mental health crisis support, people should contact First Response on 0800 952 1181.