People are being urged to use health services wisely and only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency ahead of more junior doctor strikes which begin later this week.

Junior doctors are to walk out across from 7am on Thursday, June 27, until 7am on Tuesday, July 2, in a long-running dispute with the government over pay.

Hospitals across Lancashire are set to be impacted by the walk outs, which are taking place nationally, and will mean many routine operations and appointments have to be re-scheduled.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board has said emergency cover will still be provided but is asking people to use the NHS 111 service as a first port of call, and only to contact 999 in life-threatening emergencies.

NHS 111 can give people advice on their ailment or injury and where best to go for treatment, whether that be their GP, pharmacy, a minor injuries clinic or Accident & Emergency.

LSCICB has warned waiting times are expected to be higher than normal, and patients will be contacted directly if their operations or appointments need to be rescheduled.

If you have a hospital appointment during the strike period, assume it is going ahead as normal unless you have been told otherwise.

Craig Harris, chief operating officer at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Plans are in place to be able to be able to provide emergency cover and protect patient safety.

"There will, however, be fewer doctors available, which means that routine care for many patients will be delayed and some non-urgent procedures will have to be postponed.

“We are asking people to use services wisely and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to those who need it most.

"This includes using NHS 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.”

GP practices will continue to be open as normal during the strikes.

The strikes come as the pay dispute between doctors and the government has been going on for more than a year, with a resolution yet to be reached.

The British Medical Association wrote to prime minister Rishi Sunak earlier this month offering him a ‘final chance to do the right thing’ by committing to providing a ‘detailed pathway’ towards a comprehensive deal on restoring juniors’ pay if the Conservatives were to win the General Election.

The BMA has said that since 2010, junior doctors have suffered a real-term pay cut of 26 per cent, which it says has contributed to the staffing shortages in the NHS, and subsequently record waiting lists.

The BMA letter said: "We are not asking for the world, and we do not expect pay restoration overnight.

"A doctor currently starts on £15.53 per hour and we are asking for that to be restored to what a doctor was worth in 2008, which would be £21.58 per hour.

"As we have repeatedly said, we are happy to have that restoration process occur over time – we have not called for it all in one go."

The strikes are due to begin just seven days before the General Election, and throughout the campaign Mr Sunak has been criticised for not hitting his target of bringing down waiting lists and not solving the dispute with doctors, whom he blames for the record waits.