NHS staff across Hertfordshire and west Essex are appealing for the public's support as they prepare for the Easter bank holiday weekend, and a four-day junior doctors’ strike. 

The NHS believes there will be significant disruptions, especially during the strike days, which start from 7am on Tuesday, April 11 and end at 7am on Saturday, April 15, which comes right after the bank holiday weekend. 

Health services will be working at full stretch to meet demand and the public are reminded that they should only attend accident and emergency departments at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Watford General Hospital, and Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, if they need treatment for a very serious illness or injury. 

Read more:

Pre-booked appointments can still be attended as scheduled, unless you have been contacted and your appointment has been postponed.

Dr Jane Halpin, chief executive of Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: "The junior doctors’ strike will present many challenges to patients, our hospitals, and some of our GP practices too.

"With only around one third of all doctors expected to be working, hospitals will not be able to run as normal and services will be working under immense pressure over several days.

“Even with the careful planning that is taking place, both routine and emergency care are likely to be significantly affected."

In order to prioritise life-saving emergency treatment for people who need it, hospitals will postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments.

Jane added: "This is really unfortunate for those whose treatment is delayed, but with the majority of doctors not working, remaining staff must cover the essential care patients need.

"During the last strike action earlier this month, many people went to A&E with symptoms that should have been seen and treated elsewhere. A&E is always just for serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies only, so in a genuine medical emergency always call 999."

There are some pharmacies open over the Easter weekend and all will be operating as normal after bank holiday Monday.


Get more stories like this delivered to your inbox every week by signing up to The Comet newsletter.


GP practices will open their doors again on Tuesday morning. 

If you need urgent health help, go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111. 

You can find a list of pharmacies open on Good Friday and Easter Monday by visiting nhs.uk and using the ‘Find a Pharmacy’ tool.

Information on these services can be found on hertsandwestessexics.org.uk/help-us-help