The public is being urged to only use A&E if necessary as the city’s NHS trust braces itself for upcoming junior doctor strikes.

The British Medical Association (BMA) members at University Hospital Southampton are due to take industrial action for the eleventh time as part of a national walk-out.

They will go on strike from 7am on Thursday (June 27) until 7am on July 2, raising concerns for how staff will manage demand at Southampton’s emergency department.

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Despite this, the NHS has said patient safety remains its priority, adding that it will continue to work closely with partners across and the health and care system to ensure people who require access to care continue to have access.

People who have an urgent medical problem and are unsure what to do are being told to visit 111 online.

However, those who need urgent medical care should continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases.

Patients with appointments booked on strike days will be contacted if their appointment needs to be rescheduled due to industrial action.

Those who haven’t been contacted should continue to attend their appointment as planned, the service adds.

Dr Zaid Hirmiz, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said:

“We are so grateful to our public who have supported their local NHS during the previous strike action by choosing carefully which NHS service to access and we ask that they do that again this week.

“You can help by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after yourselves, your loved ones and to check in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.

“There are a number of alternative services including pharmacies which can now treat seven common conditions such as sinusitis and ear infections; urgent treatment centres (UTCs); Healthier Together for advice on caring for children and 111 online. By using one of these alternative services, it allows our teams in our emergency departments to attend to those patients who need urgent care and attention.

“No one should put off seeking help in an emergency, however, we are urging people to only attend our Emergency Departments if it is a life or limb-threatening situation.

“If you have an appointment during the industrial action, then please continue to attend as planned unless you have been contacted to reschedule.

“We are working closely with our partners to limit the impact of industrial action and patient care remains our top priority.”