More than 175,000 affected person appointments and procedures needed to be cancelled in England when junior medical doctors went on strike this week, figures reveal.
That makes it probably the most disruptive NHS strike but this winter.
Tens of 1000’s of medics took half within the 72-hour walkout, which started on Monday, with extra senior hospital colleagues requested to cowl.
Emergency care was offered by consultants however many deliberate, non-urgent remedies have been rescheduled.
NHS England medical director Prof Sir Stephen Powis mentioned: “Despite the huge efforts that NHS staff made to keep patients safe and minimise disruption, this strike was on an unprecedented scale and had a greater impact than all the other industrial action we have seen so far this winter combined.
“Over 175,000 appointments and procedures have been rescheduled to guard emergency, essential and pressing take care of sufferers, which can inevitably influence on efforts to deal with the Covid backlog.”
Some of the delayed appointments and procedures will include hip and knee operations, as well routine checks for patients with conditions such as diabetes and even cancer.
The NHS has been trying to tackle a backlog made worse by Covid – there are still 7.2 million people on waiting lists for treatment in England.
Nurses, ambulance workers and physios have also staged strikes this winter, but have now paused action while they consider a pay supply from authorities.
Doctors’ leaders and ministers are being urged to start formal pay talks after the breakthrough on a deal with other NHS staff in England.
It is understood the British Medical Association (BMA) will meet ministers next week for preliminary talks, which might pave the way for more substantive negotiations.
The junior doctors’ pay dispute is far from resolved, with the BMA calling for a 35% pay rise, which it argues will reverse 15 years of cuts.
Junior doctors represent nearly half of the medical workforce in England and include those who have just graduated from university through to some with 10 years of experience.
Two-thirds of junior doctors are members of the BMA.
The newest figures counsel no less than 86,000 have been concerned within the industrial motion this week.
Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Rob Laurenson, the co-chairs of the BMA Junior doctors committee, said: “Every day junior medical doctors despair as they see operations cancelled and therapy postponed for the tens of millions on the ready lists as a result of our well being providers are in disaster.
“But rescheduling appointments as a result of the strike action could have been avoided if the Health Secretary had come to the table and negotiated an agreed settlement with us before any strike action was taken.
“The NHS had greater than two months’ discover that we might strike for 72 hours if the poll was profitable; the federal government has been in little doubt about our marketing campaign for full pay restoration for over six months and this has been borne out by the variety of junior medical doctors in England who’ve taken half within the industrial motion.”