The chief executive of an NHS trust has given assurances that patients will be safe during next week’s junior doctors strike.

Doctors union the British Medical Association announced that its members will take part in industrial action from 7am on Tuesday, April 11, until 7am on Saturday, April 15.

The junior doctors strike action is set to be the biggest and most disruptive strike to date after it follows a long bank holiday weekend.

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the NHS In Bucks, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West, said: "We do not underestimate the impact this industrial action will have on our patients.

"Some non-emergency operations and other appointments will be rearranged. NHS staff working during the industrial action will be working very hard in hospitals, community teams, GP and primary care services and pharmacies to keep people safe and respond to their needs. 

"The scale and length of this industrial action means that we cannot fully mitigate the impact for patients.

"Emergencies, critical care, maternity, trauma and neonatal care safe staffing will be our absolute priority, but it will involve the NHS working together across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West to ensure we are there for people at their moment of need. 

"We are grateful to all our colleagues working during this time to keep services running and patients safe.

"We urge our communities to prepare for the long Easter weekend by ordering repeat prescriptions in plenty of time and stocking up on essential medicines in advance, and over both the bank holiday and strike week to look out for vulnerable friends and family.  

“During industrial action please continue to use primary care as normal and keep appointments unless the NHS advises you not to.  Please make best use of the NHS by using NHS 111 online, using the NHS App or speaking to your local pharmacist first for health advice. Think about which NHS service can best meet your needs.“

It’s estimated that more than 175,000 patient appointments and procedures had to be cancelled in England during the last junior doctors strike.

The BMA is asking for a pay rise of 35 per cent, which it says will reverse 15 years of real-term cuts. However, the government says this demand is unaffordable.

Dr Rachael de Caux, Chief Medical Officer for the NHS in Bucks, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West and Consultant in Emergency Medicine said: “If you have an emergency or life-threatening need, continue to come to Emergency Departments.

"We expect them to be incredibly busy in the days ahead and if your need is not an emergency you can expect to wait a very long time or be redirected to a more appropriate service.

"NHS 111 online remains the best place to help you get to the part of the NHS that can best respond to your needs.”