Senior leaders from the NHS organisations in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have asked for the public to choose services wisely during the Easter bank holiday and the junior doctors’ strike the following week, to help people get the right care, in the right place as quickly as possible.

Junior doctors are due to go on strike from 06:59 on Tuesday 11th April until 06:59 on Saturday 15th April. This four-day strike comes immediately after a long bank holiday weekend, which means services will be under particular pressure.

Even though the NHS is expected to be busier than normal, people are advised to continue coming forward for care, including calling 999 if it’s serious or a life-threatening emergency.

They should attend any booked appointments, unless the NHS has already told them that they need to reschedule.

GP practices are closed for the bank holiday but will be open as normal from Tuesday 11th April, so people should continue to use them for anything urgent and that they can’t treat themselves.

For urgent health needs people are asked to use NHS 111 as the first port of call by visiting They can also phone NHS 111 if they do not have online access or for children under 5. The 111 service is available 24/7 and can advise where to get help for specific symptoms, direct people to the best local service to use, and book an appointment or arrival time to keep waiting times to a minimum.

For urgent mental health problems, people can call the Mental Health Central Access Point on 0808 800 3302. There is also a range of crisis cafes available across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, although some have restricted opening due to the bank holiday weekend. Full details are available on the Leicestershire Partnership Trust website: .

People can look after many minor illnesses and injuries themselves at home, but if they need any extra support they can visit , use the NHS App or visit a local pharmacy.

Pharmacists are qualified health professionals and are the right people to see for advice or over-the-counter medicines. They are trained in dealing with many illnesses, they can check symptoms and recommend the best treatment. There is a local pharmacy near to where most people live and they are often open in the evenings and at weekends, so they offer fast, convenient support – without an appointment. Most also have a private consultation room.

People in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can find out which service to use, depending on their needs, at: so that they can get the right care, in the right place at the right time.

Dr Sulaxni Nainani, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board said: “All the local NHS organisations and healthcare providers have been working together to plan for this coming bank holiday and the industrial action to ensure we can continuously provide safe care for patients that need it, particularly when it’s serious and life-threatening. It is still likely to be a very challenging time and we are asking for the public to follow our advice when they need medical assistance.

“What is most important is that people do come forward if they need medical assistance, attend any booked appointments and use their GP practice as normal after the bank holiday.”

Andrew Furlong, Medical Director/Deputy Chief Executive Officer for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: “The whole NHS is likely to be pressured over the Easter break and during the industrial action that follows. We are well prepared, and focussed on providing a safe urgent and emergency care service to all who need it.

“The public can help us by calling 999 in a life-threatening emergency only. You can click or call 111 for non-life threatening care, helping you get to the right place for your needs first time. Local pharmacies can help with less serious ailments.

“Anyone with a hospital appointment should continue to attend as planned unless they have been contacted to rearrange.”

Sanjay Rao, a consultant psychiatrist for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Crisis mental health services remain open. Our Mental Health Central Access Point is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on freephone 0808 800 3302. As well as assessments and early interventions where needed, the service aims to reduce the pressure on other services, particularly emergency services, by offering an alternative to NHS111 and the emergency department.

“Anyone needing mental health support for themselves or others can call this service. If there is an immediate threat to someone’s life, please phone 999.”

Stephen Bateman is Chief Executive at DHU Healthcare – providers of urgent care, NHS111 and out of hours services – and comments: “Over Easter and into next week I’m urging people to use as their first port of call – especially if they’re unsure where to go to get help and support with a medical concern. Like our telephone service, it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides an immediate assessment to help you get to the right care at the right time.

“Connecting with our advisers in this way still enables you to receive self-care advice, and gives you access to services close to home – by linking in with community pharmacists, GP services, walk-in and urgent treatment centres. Making sensible choices means we can all support the NHS at its busiest time, and ensures that A and E can focus on those with the most critical needs.”