Royal Berkshire Hospital is warning of increased pressure ahead of the planned strike by junior doctors but insists it is prepared for the walkout.
Junior doctors will stage the walkout between 8am and 5pm Tuesday and Wednesday in a long-running dispute over new contracts imposed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The protest is the second in a series of planned industrial action.
Chief operating officer of RBH Mary Sherry said: “All our efforts have been directed at providing safe cover and minimising disruption to our patients during the planned industrial action.
“Our planning for Tuesday and Wednesday is in collaboration with our senior doctors and all decisions have been clinically led to ensure the safety of our patients.
“We do anticipate a challenging two days but our staff have demonstrated a very high level of flexibility to ensure we continue to provide the best possible care and we would like to thank them for this.”
The hospital went on to warn of additional pressure over the two days and asked patients to consider carefully before attending A&E or other emergency services.
A statement from RBH read: “Patients are asked to seek advice from their pharmacist or see their GP, or use minor injury clinics and urgent care centres close to Reading where they may be seen faster.
“This action will help to keep the hospital’s Emergency Department free to concentrate on those very sick patients who need our help most.”
Meanwhile, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging members of the public to carefully consider the right treatment during the strike.
A statement from SCAS read: “SCAS recognises the right of junior doctors to take action, however the Trust needs to maintain its essential service to the public and the light of the industrial action SCAS is working closely with all its partners, staff and the public to help reduce demand on its service during this time.
“While we continue to focus on getting to patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses as a priority, the impact of the industrial action on our service may lead to delays in getting to some patients in non-life threatening conditions.
“We would like to remind the public to use our services appropriately and only call 999 if absolutely essential.
“If you are suffering an injury or illness which non life threatening, there are other avenues of care available to you.
“You could visit your local pharmacy for advice and treatment on many common injuries and illnesses, contact your GP or out of hours GP, call NHS 111 for information and advice.
“You could access NHS Choices online to check your symptoms and find your nearest service, make your own way to a local walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.”
Further information on the strike can be found by visiting www.nhs.uk/strike