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Over 113,000 appointments cancelled due to junior doctors’ strike last week

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More than 25,000 NHS staff were absent from work at the peak of the action

The recent industrial action by junior doctors and hospital dental trainees, which is considered the longest strike in NHS history, caused a significant impact on the NHS services.

Data published by NHS England showed that 113,779 inpatient and outpatient appointments were rescheduled due to the strike, which began on Wednesday 3 January at 7.00am and finished at 7.00am on Tuesday 9 January.

Junior doctors make up around half of all doctors in the health service, but 25,446 staff remained absent from work at the peak of the last week’s latest action.

The ongoing dispute between junior doctors and government over the 2022/23 pay award has disrupted more than one million hospital appointments so far.

The junior doctors’ strike in December 2023 impacted 86,329 hospital appointments, and their previous action in October saw over 86,000 appointments cancelled.

Despite the staff working tirelessly to keep patients safe, the strike led to unprecedented disruption for patients and their families, NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said.

“That cost is clear in these figures – likely to be even higher in reality – with more than 113,000 appointments postponed at a time when services are already under huge pressure from rising flu and covid cases and we are seeing a huge demand for care.

“Medical leaders and frontline staff are telling us they are very concerned about the coming weeks as the cold weather bites and more people may need hospitalisation. This puts an incredible strain on staff who have been covering striking colleagues as we continue to navigate one of the most difficult times of year.

“Colleagues across the NHS will now be doing everything they can to make up for lost time as we continue to make progress on addressing the elective backlog and ensure patients get the care they need,” he added.

Junior doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA), and hospital dental trainees from the BDA joined the strike action.

 

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