Strikes at hospitals in the ELL area have been confirmed for April 26 and 27 as junior doctors walk out over government plans to impose a new contract.
The strikes will affect hospitals from 8am until 5pm on both days, with all participating doctors withdrawing normal levels of care, including A&E services.
Hospitals affected in the ELL area include: Homerton University Hospital, the Royal London Hospital, Croydon University Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham.
Barts Health NHS Trust has advised the public not to use A&E departments during the strike unless they are in need of real emergency care.
The British Medical Association, which represents junior doctors, said: “This is a deeply regrettable disruption, however with the government pressing ahead with the contract, there is no other course of action.”
The strike is over the decision by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to impose new contracts on junior doctors, which will affect working hours and pay. Each side blames the other for failure to reach a compromise.
The BMA told ELL that the strike was a last resort, and recommended patients contact their local hospitals for information on the day.
The hospitals say they have plans to handle the impact of the strike, including bolstering GP and clinic services, which will have extra cover for the duration.
Dr Anne Rainsberry, National Incident Director for NHS England, said: “The NHS exists to care for and treat patients and it is with enormous regret that we find patients put in this position.
“The NHS has been pulling out all the stops to minimise the risks to the quality and safety of care but this is an unprecedented situation during a time of heightened risk.”
During the strikes, the NHS has recommended that people who are unwell seek advice by calling NHS 111, contacting their GP or visiting a local pharmacist.