A HEALTH boss is urging Hampshire residents to only visit A&E in an emergency, ahead of strike action starting today (April 30).

Dr Lara Alloway, joint chief medical officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB), is asking residents to help keep emergency departments free for those who need them over the May bank holiday weekend.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are due to take part in industrial action from 8pm on Sunday, April 30 until midnight on Monday, May 1, and the ICB anticipates that its hospitals and emergency departments will be “very busy” during this time.

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Dr Alloway said: “We are working closely with our partners across the county to plan, prepare and mitigate the potential impact on patients, communities and staff to ensure that services continue to run as smoothly as possible.

“Patient care remains our top priority and we are working hard to ensure that we continue to deliver the best level of care possible. If you have an appointment during the industrial action you should continue to attend as planned unless you are contacted to reschedule.

“No one should put off seeking urgent care in an emergency during this period, however we are urging people to only attend our emergency departments if it is an emergency situation.”

Details of other services including urgent treatment centres are on the ICB website.

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Those with an urgent medical problem who are not sure what to do should visit 111 online at 111.nhs.uk.

Urgent treatment centres and pharmacies are equipped to deal with minor injuries such as cuts or sprains. The public are urged to only visit A&E for life-threatening accidents and emergencies.

Patients with appointments booked on strike days will be contacted by the NHS if their appointment needs to be rescheduled due to industrial action. If they have not been contacted, they should attend their appointment as planned.

You can also download the Healthier Together app for advice if you have children or carer responsibilities. The app can help you decide whether you can self-care at home or if you need help, which service is best for the needs of children aged up to 18. It also provides advice and guidance for pregnant women.

The ICB said that regardless of industrial action, 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.