UK heatwave: Urgent hot weather health warning issued as NHS junior doctors begin 72 hour strike

An urgent NHS health warning has been issued as hot weather combines with the latest junior doctors strike action.
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NHS junior doctors will strike for 72 hours from 7am, on Wednesday (June 14). It is their third strike in an ongoing pay dispute and is expected to lead to the cancellation of many routine care appointments.

As the UK is currently experiencing a heatwave in many parts of the country, NHS bosses are urging people to use services sensibly as more pressure is put on A&E units. Junior doctors, who account for nearly half the medical workforce, are striking from routine and emergency care.

NHS England has said the health service would have to prioritise emergency and life-saving care during the strike action. The hot weather is causing a high demand for urgent services - and the NHS is urging people to avoid the sun at the hottest time of day and drink plenty of fluids.

As well as heat-stroke, hot weather also brings an increase in heart failure and kidney problems. It also results in high rates of sprains and fractures and respiratory problems.

During the three day strike, consultants are being drafted in to provide cover, but the amount is expected to be less than during previous junior doctors’ strikes, in March and April. Up to 47,600 junior doctors who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) union, are expected to strike.

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.”

He added: "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."