December 18, 2023

Getting the help you need this festive season

The NHS in Wakefield District is urging people to plan ahead and to choose the right service for their healthcare needs, as it prepares for the festive holiday season, which this year coincides with another period of industrial action by junior doctors.

Junior doctors will strike from 20 December 2023 until 23 December 2023 and from 3 January 2024 until 9 January 2024.

This will be the longest period of industrial action to date, and as it will take place over the Christmas and New Year period, it will have a significant impact on healthcare services.

Some hospital appointments and planned treatment may need to be rearranged but please attend any booked appointments unless you hear otherwise. Healthcare teams will contact people as soon as possible if your appointment needs to be changed.

If you take regular medication, check you have enough for the holiday period, and if you need more, please order and collect it before the planned strikes. Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet and taking care if you’re doing any DIY or physical activities will also help avoid a visit to your local emergency department.

If you or someone close to you needs medical help, please get advice about the most appropriate treatment option by using 111 online ( or calling 111 if you don’t have access to the internet. Remember 999 and A&E departments are for the most serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses.

NHS 111 is a free, 24 hour online or phone service that provides help and advice on the most appropriate medical care; it can also arrange phone consultations with healthcare professionals and book appointments at urgent treatment and out of hours medical centres.  Parents and carers of young children can also find health advice on the West Yorkshire Healthier Together website.

For people who have repeat prescriptions, electronic repeat dispensing (known as eRD) gives them the reassurance of knowing their next prescription will be ready for collection at their pharmacy when they need it, and flexibility so they have medication at busy times. Guidance on how to order a repeat prescription is also available on the NHS website, or you can use the NHS App to order repeat prescriptions.

People may also consider having at home a small stock of basic medicines for minor illness or injury. These may include paracetamol, plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoeal medicine. See the NHS website for advice on what you should keep in your first aid kit, or ask your local pharmacist for advice.

In Wakefield, you can get face-to-face appointments for urgent problems and book routine appointments in advance and when your own GP practice is closed through the GP Care Wakefield service. The service is available between 5pm and 9.30pm on weekdays; 9am and 5pm on Saturdays; and 9am and 1pm on Sundays and 9am and 3pm on bank holidays. All you need to do is contact your own practice telephone number, at any time of day and you will get through to the right service.

King Street Walk in Centre, Wakefield, is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, between the hours of 10am and 10pm.

Mental health support will continue to be available throughout the strike period. Visit for details of local services. For urgent help in a mental health crisis, call your local 24 hr helpline on 0800 183 0558.

Regardless of the planned strike action, the NHS is urging anyone who needs medical care to continue to come forward in the normal way: attending booked appointments unless they are contacted; using NHS 111 for advice on which service to use;  or calling 999 or going to your nearest emergency department (A&E)  if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

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