The NHS across south Essex is warning patients of a significant impact on care as a five-day junior doctor strike unfolds amid the hottest week of the year so far.

NHS bosses are urging the public to “use services carefully”, despite a yellow heat health alert being in place which means the hot weather is putting vulnerable people at additional risk. 

The strike action started at 7am this morning and will continue until 7am on Tuesday, July 2, with efforts being made by consultants to cover for the junior doctors.

This has prompted Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to warn patients of a "significant impact" on the level of care Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals can provide.

The trust has cancelled appointments and planned operations, and is urging people to only come to A&E if they need life-saving care.

Dr Edward Morris, medical director for the NHS in the East of England said: “With the latest strikes set to start tomorrow in amongst the hottest week of the year so far, we are bracing ourselves for widespread disruption and significant pressure on the region’s NHS services, with almost all routine care likely to be adversely affected. 

“The hot weather will only add to this pressure, so anyone experiencing discomfort should check NHS advice on coping with the heat  such as by staying inside or in the shade during the hottest part of the day and drinking plenty of fluids.” 

Medics have also warned that more strike action could take place in the summer if the next government does not move forward negotiations with junior doctors in a “timely manner”.

Patients are advised to attend their appointments unless told otherwise.