Junior doctors’ walkout led to 61,000 delays for patients
The latest four-day strike by junior doctors led to the axing of more than 61,000 hospital appointments and procedures, it was revealed.
In their fifth round of industrial action, an estimated 23,000 trainee medics walked out on both Friday and Monday and 7,000 downed tools each day over the weekend in between.
The total number of appointments delayed since strikes by staff began in December has now reached 839,000, NHS England said.
But NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis warned the true impact was even greater than the figures suggest, as many services stop scheduling appointments for strike days once they are announced.
He said: “We will soon hit a million appointments rescheduled if strikes continue, which shows the enormous impact industrial action is having on patients, their families and the NHS.
“During almost nine months of action, our hard-working staff have done all they can to keep patients safe while tackling a record backlog.
READ MORE: I am disgusted junior doctors are walking out on their patients
“But there is no doubt this cumulative impact is posing a huge challenge for the health service.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the disruption by doctors’ union the British Medical Association had not only “harmed patients” but had “cost the NHS huge sums which could be spent…to help tackle waiting lists”.
He added: “We are giving first year doctors in training a 10.3% uplift, and an average annual pay rise of 8.8% worth £3,000 to £4,700.
“My door is always open to discuss the other issues doctors face and I want to work together to improve their working lives. But this pay award is final. So I urge the BMA to call an end to this needless disruption.”
Junior doctors are asking for a 35% rise. Meanwhile, their counterparts in Scotland have overwhelmingly voted to accept a “record” pay offer.
The British Medical Association had recommended its members accept the deal, which will see wages rise by 12.4% in 2023-24 and in line with inflation until at least 2026-27.
More than four out of five who took part in the ballot voted to accept..
Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson said it was “the single biggest investment in junior doctor pay since devolution”.
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