Number of appointments rescheduled after NHS strike action passes one million

todaySeptember 25, 2023 5

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Number of appointments rescheduled after NHS strike action passes one million

The number of acute inpatient and outpatient appointments rescheduled as a result of strike action by junior doctors and consultants has now exceeded one million, according to new figures.

Data on industrial action taken by NHS staff last week saw an additional 129,913 appointments rescheduled, with 26,802 staff absent from work at the peak of strike action.

There were a further 3,581 cancellations in mental health, learning disability and community settings also recorded.

The total number of appointments which have had to be rescheduled since December 2022 now stands at 1,015,067, the figures show.

NHS national medical director for secondary care and transformation, Dr Vin Diwakar, said: “These figures reveal just part of the relentless impact of strikes over the last 10 months.

“We know that each appointment rescheduled is incredibly difficult for patients and families, and as we prepare for further joint action next week, there is precious little time for staff and services to recover.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Today marks the grim milestone of over one million appointments cancelled as a result of strikes, with coordinated and calculated industrial action by the BMA creating further disruption and misery for patients and NHS colleagues.

“Regrettably, the BMA is threatening to escalate strike action again next month, which would mean the number of cancellations rising further and adding to the pressures on health services as we head into winter.”

Mr Barclay added that doctors had received a “fair and reasonable pay rise” following recommendations by independent pay review bodies.

Steve Barclay MP

‘Doctors have received a fair and reasonable pay rise’, according to Steve Barclay

He said: “Those who started their hospital training this year are receiving a 10.3% pay increase, with the average junior doctor getting 8.8% and consultants are receiving a 6% pay rise alongside generous reforms to their pensions, which was the BMA’s number one ask.

“My door is always open to discuss how we can work together with NHS staff to improve their working lives, but this pay award is final so I urge unions to end this damaging disruption.”

There are fears number of rescheduled appointments will continue to rise

One million rescheduled inpatient and outpatient appointments is a milestone.

The figure dates from the beginning of the industrial action by junior doctors back in December 2022.

Since then, consultants have also been out striking which has pushed the number of cancellations to new heights.

What is even more worrying is that 1,015,067 is on the conservative side, as it doesn’t include NHS England provider networks that run community services like mental health.

We also know hospitals have stopped booking as many appointments on strike days so they can cancel fewer of them.

But a chief executive of one NHS trust told Sky News that most trusts are essentially losing a week of planned activity each month.

Now the worry is that this new figure of cancelled appointments will continue to rise as there is no resolve between the BMA and the government, with junior doctors and consultants striking simultaneously next week for three days.

For the first time in NHS history both sets of staff took joint action, as consultants walked out on 19 September with junior doctors accompanying them a day after.

Nurses kick-started the protests against pay levels and patient safety concerns last December after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) held the first nationwide strike in its 106-year history.

Ambulance workers and junior doctors have staged multiple strikes over the past year, mainly related to pay, working conditions and staffing.

Written by: Newsroom

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