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Local NHS preparing for double impact of Easter bank holidays and four days of strike action

Posted: 6 April 2023

Picture of Watford Hospital, St Albans City Hospital and Hemel Hempstead Hospital;

NHS staff across Hertfordshire and west Essex are appealing for the public’s support as they prepare for the Easter bank holiday weekend, followed by a four-day junior doctors’ strike which will affect local services.

Significant disruption is expected, particularly during the strike period (beginning 7am on Tuesday 11 April and ending at 7am on Saturday 15 April) which comes straight after a bank holiday weekend, when health services will be working at full stretch to meet demand.

The public are reminded that they should only attend accident and emergency departments at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Lister Hospital in Stevenage and Watford General Hospital if they need treatment for a very serious illness or injury. If you have a pre-booked appointment at hospital or a clinic, please attend as scheduled, unless you have been contacted and your appointment has been postponed.

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. Where this is the case, patients will be contacted directly. 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.

NHS 111 is there 24 hours a day if you or a family member are unwell and need urgent medical help or advice on where to go. We have more staff in the NHS 111 service to cover this challenging week so please use 111 online or by phone if you cannot manage symptoms yourself at home.

Top tips for Hertfordshire and west Essex residents

Information on these services and self-help advice can be found at:


  1. For media enquiries, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit You can also join our followers on Twitter ( and find us on Facebook (