Appointments and operations will be postponed and waiting times in A&E could be longer than usual as Wiltshire's NHS services prepare for junior doctors and consultants to go on strike.

Consultants will carry out industrial action from 7am on September 19 to 7am on September 21, and junior doctors will do the same from 7am on September 20 to 7am on September 23.

The British Medical Association is seeking a 35 per cent salary increase for junior doctors in order to achieve what it calls “full pay restoration”, saying the value of their salaries has fallen by 26.2 per cent in real terms since 2008.

It explained that this week of strikes is expected to cause an unprecedent amount of disruption to health services, especially on Wednesday, September 20, when the consultant and junior doctor strikes overlap, as consultants will not be able to provide cover for absent junior doctors as they have during previous rounds of strike action.

During this week, hospitals will be providing a level of service similar to that of a Christmas Day, which means routine appointments and operations are likely to be postponed and waiting times for urgent care longer than usual.

Local health service leaders are asking the public to support them during this period by collecting prescriptions early, attending appointments unless told otherwise, and only using emergency care services in genuine, life-threatening situations to help ensure those most in need are prioritised for care.

Gill May is the chief nurse at Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, which manages health services around the region.

She said: “Services across BSW, particularly in our hospitals, are likely to be severely impacted by this forthcoming period of industrial action, especially on September 20, when both junior doctors and consultants will be on strike.

“We are working closely with our health and care partners to ensure those in greatest need continue to have access to high-quality care and support.

“However, we cannot emphasise enough how important it will be to keep all of our emergency departments clear for life-threatening conditions and serious injuries.

“The public can also help us by thinking carefully about their healthcare options and getting advice when needed from NHS 111, the NHS website or their local community pharmacy.

“We would like to pass on our sincere thanks to the public for their ongoing support during this sustained programme of industrial action.”

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